Icelandic Mountain Guides Goes Carbon Neutral

04. July 2019 —
Björvin Hilmanrsson
Icelandic Mountain Guides Staff planting trees

At Icelandic Mountain Guides we are all about protecting and sharing all that Iceland’s great outdoors has to offer. To this end, our Environmental Team has implemented several strategies to ensure that all of our day tours are carbon neutral. You can rest assured that an excursion with us is high on adventure and low on environmental impact.

What does being carbon neutral mean?

Being carbon neutral means removing as much carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere as we put in to it. We achieve this through several environmental projects including planting trees and restoring native plant habitat in Iceland.

How do we maintain our carbon neutrality?

Our Environmental Team determines our carbon emissions and then implements programs to offset those emissions. One of these programs is setting aside days for our staff to plant trees, which takes place every spring and fall. This Icelandic Mountain Guides’ tradition gets us out of the office and working together to not only offset our vehicles’ emissions but also goes toward the reforestation of Iceland. Because we only plant native plants, this program also supports and maintains biodiversity on the island and protects local species of birds and insects.

Two men planting a tree in Iceland

Beyond Carbon Neutrality

In addition to having carbon neutral day tours and working toward neutralizing all of our multi-day tours, our environmental policy lists the other work we are doing to lessen our impact. For instance, we organize and support a number of ongoing environmental projects and work directly with NGOs in support of environmental protection. We also strive to live by and educate others in the Leave No Trace principle, a conservation based code of ethics for exploring nature. 

How can you contribute to protecting Icelandic nature?

Don’t let our rugged mountains and massive glaciers fool you. While the Icelandic landscape may seem indestructible, its ecosystems are in fact quite fragile and we need your help to maintain and protect them. Based on the Leave No Trace code of outdoor ethics, we’ve come up with eight principles to keep in mind while exploring Iceland that will help you reduce your impact on this beautiful island we call home.

1. Travel Only on Designated Paths: It only takes a few footsteps to damage the landscape. Containing this damage to designated paths helps preserve the environment while allowing adventurers to explore and delight in their surroundings.

2 .Use Designated Campsites: Using designated campsites helps contain the damage of setting up camp, provides campers with the ideal space for camping and facilities.

3. Leave What You Find: Take it all in, but not literally. If everyone took a flower, a stone, a leaf etc. there would be nothing left to enjoy. Take all the photos and videos you want and leave nothing but footprints (on the designated path) behind.

4. NO Off-Road Driving: The tracks in the highlands, while not paved roads, are there for the same reason as the designated footpaths, to protect the gorgeous landscape you came to see.

5. Dispose of Waste Properly: Explorers should leave the great outdoors with everything they bring in. And remember to recycle whatever you can when you get back to town.

6. Respect Wildlife and Farm Animals: It goes without saying that one shouldn’t feed wild animals but you also shouldn’t feed the domestic ones either.

7. Be Considerate of Others: Treat others as you would like to be treated. It’s as simple as that.

8. Don’t Buy Bottled Still Water: The water that comes out of an Icelandic tap is better than the bottled water in the store. Fill up your reusable water bottle from the tap or an obliging river.

About the Author

Jewells Chambers

Jewells is a Brooklyn, NY native but love, work and a taste for adventure have brought her to Iceland. As the Content Marketing Manager, she has the exciting task of bringing Icelandic Mountain Guide’s voice and its customer’s stories to life across the digital universe. When she is not working on content strategy, you can find her frolicking in Icelandic nature, trying new vegan recipes, instagramming and pretending to understand when someone speaks in Icelandic.

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