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Iceland is a rapidly evolving island nation in the middle of the Northern Atlantic Ocean. Originally settled by Vikings and Irish anchorites, the current population is just over 330,000. Of this, some 122,000 live in Reykjavik, the capital. The natural beauty of Iceland is unequaled and it routinely tops lists ranking  progressive nations and happiest populations. The climate in Iceland reflects the nation’s name; although it has milder winters than Worcester does, the warmest summer days still require a jacket or thick wool sweater.

Iceland has many unique opportunities for IQP research.  The government’s efforts to promote Iceland as a tourist destination after the 2008 financial crisis have attracted many millions of visitors, helping to stabilize the financial sector – at the risk of endangering the natural environment that so many come to see. The tourists themselves are taking a toll on the environment and civil infrastructure, and social stresses are being exacerbated as native Icelanders are being priced out of their homes to make space for tourist accommodations. Foreign industry, which finds the abundant geothermal energy resources on the island to be quite attractive, and which is supported by government policies aimed to diversify the Icelandic economy, is also taking a toll on the environment. In short, Icelandic society is in the midst of a delicate balancing act between tourism, industry, the environment, the economy, and the needs of the Icelandic population.

 

 

Please note that the Iceland IQP site is being offered for the first time as a 12-student ISRP in A18. This site will be under construction until these students complete their projects.