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I See an Opportunity

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I have just returned to the office after a lengthy discussion at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in downtown Reykjavík. The meeting was part of a long piece for the next Iceland Review on Iceland’s perspective on Arctic warming.

If you didn’t read the news in November, you may have still heard that a large panel of scientists from the Arctic countries pooled their studies to produce one conclusive document on the state of things at present regarding Arctic warming. The results were a little harrowing: warnings that native peoples will see their ability to hunt and live traditionally all but destroyed, and news from Siberia that traintracks and even some buildings will suffer from the easing of the permafrost.

But having attended the conference to report for the AP, I found the scientists were extraordinarily calm. I wondered if they all just hadn’t gone through their seven stages of grieving and were on the point of acceptance. Except the news for a few countries really wasn’t that bad… some countries stand to make money from Arctic warming. Beyond the chance to exploit more places for fossil fuels and fishing, there will be increased shipping in the North Atlantic.

The idea of profiting from such a change seems almost like the ultimate example of making lemonade from lemons. Or maybe like selling tickets to watch the neighbour’s house burn down.

This afternoon I can’t help repeating the mantra “I see an opportunity!” (To be screamed with a smile and nod.) It makes life much better.

For example: Bobby Fischer is being granted a visa to come to Iceland. Fischer loves Iceland. In 1972, the year he came here and became a chess master, he tried desperately to avoid the country in order to play in Yugoslavia. Since then, I can find no record of him having visited, but he has phoned talk shows to explain his hatred of Jew conspiracies, and he included this illustrious country in his pro-9/11 phone calls. In fact, I have been generally annoyed by Fischer.

But… as a journalist “I SEE AN OPPORTUNITY.” Everybody wants a story about Fischer. When he comes and starts doing whatever nonsense he wants, well there will be more stories. I have already helped an Icelandic friend start an international journalism career by speculating on Mr. Fischer. If this thing keeps going, I’ll be able to get Icelanders into key positions at CNN. If I can find someone who is sympathetic to Fischer, maybe even Fox News. The opportunities abound. BC [email protected]

Views expressed here are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Iceland Review.