An intrepid Icelandic adventure
I never thought I would be able to say that I’ve been to Iceland. But I have—thanks to a class I took at Penn State Fayette, The Eberly, Campus. The class was STS 201H: Climate Change, Energy, and Biodiversity.
Because this was a team-taught Honors course, we had a different speaker nearly every week from several different departments. One wouldn’t think that the English and the Business departments would have much in common, but there is at least one similarity between them: they both had something to say about the environment. Dr. Evelyn Pluhar-Adams, professor of philosophy, spoke about the effect that factory farming is having on both the environment and us. Dr. Gib Prettyman, associate professor of English, lectured about deep ecology and how we are losing our connection to nature and the world around us. We also heard lectures on the financial side of the climate change debate, the language of climate change and the science of it.
I don’t think anyone on the trip will forget the disappearing glacier we visited. It was quiet. Black sand led the way to its shrinking edge. It seemed expansive, but it wasn’t. It was much smaller than it had been just a few decades ago, when Iceland didn’t have to worry about its own economic crisis.
Incidentally, one of Iceland’s largest exports is fish. We sampled crab soup, lobster soup, fish and chips, salmon, and pickled herring (well, some dared to try the pickled herring). A large part of the trip, for me, was trying the traditional cuisine, which included skyr, a yogurt dish. We truly ate our way through Reykjavik, tasting this, trying that, sharing new favorites. We also shared something much bigger: the experience of a lifetime.
I’m so glad I had the opportunity to go on this trip, because if I hadn’t, not only would I have missed out on visiting an amazing country, but I also would have missed out on getting to know my friends. We learned more about the people we thought we already knew. We shared this experience, and in turn, shared so much more.