By Juan Ignacio Rion
University of Southern California
As my plane left the asphalt of New York JFK’s runway, I was fused with a mix of anxiety and excitement for what was to come next. In the three weeks that followed, I snorkeled between tectonic plates, stood on top of glaciers and watched geysers erupt before my very own eyes. An island populated by a mere 300k Viking descendants and an odd number of sheep, Iceland is a country that cannot simply be described, it has to be experienced.
With a history of infertile soil, volcanic eruptions, deforestation and an unforgiving climate, Iceland has managed to become 99 percent renewable in the last decade by focusing on the development of green technologies. This country went from being Europe’s poorest country to one with a thriving manufacturing industry fueled by its clean energy production.
Through The GREEN Program and Iceland School of Energy Master’s Program, I was given the opportunity to explore this country’s renewable energy and sustainability practices with exclusive access to world-leading hydroelectric, biofuel, geothermal and wind energy facilities. After witnessing Iceland’s breakthroughs in renewable technology, I was reassured that I had chosen the right major.
I soon became convinced that my career as a civil/environmental engineer would be dedicated to developing more technologies like these around the world, starting with my home country of Mexico.
As a developing country, Mexico suffers from a lack of public services that prevent the country from moving forward. A large sector of the population still lives in marginalized and densely populated areas, without access to affordable clean energy.
With my recent involvement in The GREEN Program, I am confident that I now possess the necessary expertise to change the way energy is produced and consumed, and give back to the country that has given me so much in return.
:: Check out highlights from Juan’s trip to Iceland in his gorgeous HD video. You’ll thank us for this one..