Greenland versus Iceland

Posted: November 30th, 2013

Greenland versus Iceland






Greenland versus Iceland

            Iceland is considered among the most developed and wealthiest countries in the world. It operates on a free market economy, whereby its taxes are lower compared to other OECD countries. It was listed the fourteenth most developed nations in the world, in 2011. Greenland is located within Denmark. It is the largest island in the world and least dense populated country in the world. The country’s economy depends on its home country, Denmark. The Inuit society of Iceland survived due to adaptive measures that have ensured its sustainability. One of the ways that this is achieved is by controlling the population growth. Their main activities included whaling and trading with other communities. Their survival skill in adapting to the environment is flexibility. When a resource becomes unavailable, they turn to another one for survival.

Iceland relies a hundred percent on energy from renewable resources, whereby seventy percent made from hydropower and thirty percent geothermal power.

The main supplier Landsvirkjun is the owner of hydropower plants. The ability of the country to produce renewable energy relies on its geology. Iceland lies on the Mid-Atlantic ridge. There are six hundred hot springs, two hundred volcanoes in the country and twenty steam fields of high temperature that are lowest at 1500c. Waterfalls and rivers in the country on the other hand produce hydropower. Greenland on the other hand relies on biomass as its source of energy. Biomass is divided into three categories, which are solid, fluid and gas. There are plants for burning waste in six cities in Greenland. There are threes types of theoretical potential, namely, the economical potential and the technological potential. The economic potential technically lasts for twenty years, with heat production paid back after twelve and a half years and heat and power production after 5 years.

Before there was any human, activity in Iceland, there were birch forests, colonies of sea birds and a lot of green grass. When man invaded the land, the grassland was destroyed by the European crops and domestic animals that man had introduced into the land. Deforestation on the other hand enhanced soil erosion, as the soil was exposed to water and wind. This has led to the destruction of ninety percent of the forests of Iceland and forty percent of the soil. The soil erosion, today, has destroyed Seventy-three percent of the land surface. The population in Greenland is affecting its environment through oil spillages. In 1980, millions of tons of oil were estimated to go into the ocean every year. The main sources of these spillages are sewage outfalls, tanker operations, atmospheric outfall and urban runoff.

Accidental spills present a threat to the environment, because they are of high concentration. Oil degradation in the Arctic would be slow, since the temperatures are low. Further more, since the infrastructure is not good and the climatic conditions are harsh, clean up would be hard. A more adverse effect would be if the oil spilled on ice in the ocean. The oil would concentrate on the ice edges where most animals and birds would bid up during migration. Oil is a toxic substance to organisms. Its effects would depend on the oil composition and the organism that has been affected. Climate change can be caused or cause biodiversity change. Climate change is one of the most important factors that determine change in species distribution in an ecosystem. Change in the climate is also affected by human activities, which produce greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. Another effect of climate change is the change in the required concentration of carbon in marine and terrestrial systems.

The change in biodiversity on the other hand affects the circulation of the benefits that species acquire from ecosystems. The benefits consist of regulating services such as managing variability in pathogens and pests and cultural services such as recreation. Biodiversity supports such ecosystem services as climate regulation. For example, converting forests into agricultural production increases carbon emissions. This in turn affects the climate by increasing its rate of change. Human activities that lead to the emission of greenhouse gases greatly cause climatic changes, which in turn affect biodiversity. The Vikings migrated from Iceland and arrived in Greenland in 980 A.D. it settled in farming communities. They related with their European communities through trade. However, this community eventually collapsed due to a number of reasons.

The reasons why the Viking society in Greenland collapsed were; first, they had hostile relationships with their neighbors. They were in war with the Skraelings, who captured and killed some of their people. Secondly, they had lost support from their native homes and their trade partners. In the event, when half of the population in Norway was killed, it caused economic and political instability, such that no trade ships could be sent. The Inuit owned larger weapons, dogs and other equipments that enabled them protect themselves from other communities, such as the Dorset. They made trade with various culture and societies, which hence ensured their survival. When they could not survive the climates in the regions they had settled, they moved into friendlier regions. The Inuit society also had a greater population as compared to the Vikings, which probably led to their survival.

In conclusion, species are eliminated from a setting through natural selection. In this, the strongest species or the most adoptable survive. The Viking society collapsed because they were a weaker group than the surrounding communities were. They also had weaker survival skills. In the present world, species survive depending on their ability to adapt to the existing climates and conditions of their surrounding environment.


Crystalinks. Inuit. Retrieved from

Brown, D., M. (2000). The Fate of the Greenland Vikings. Retrieved from

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