RCDS Students Explore Sustainability and Renewable Energy in Iceland

As a part of the RCDS Global Studies program, a group of Upper School students recently traveled to Iceland, the land of fire and ice, to experience the surreal landscapes, unique culture, and discover the country's incredible sources of sustainable and renewable energy.

Their days were spent exploring hot springs and waterfalls, touring power plants, and hiking in scenic panoramas. Highlights from the trip included learning about the Hellisheiði Geothermal Plant, traveling to the most northern capital city in the world, Reykjavík, bathing in the legendary Blue Lagoon, hiking a 7.5 mile trek to the top of a mountain, foraging through caves to secluded waterfalls, walking on a glacier and spotting puffins on the black sand beaches.

Below are snippets from student and faculty reflections from the the Broadreach travel blog.

Hellisheiði Geothermal Plant

"Here, we learned that Iceland's power is made from about 30% hydroelectric energy. A tour guide explained the process of generating geothermal energy. Fun fact: over 90% of homes in Iceland are heated by geothermal power and the wastewater is used to heat the driveways and streets (no shoveling when it snows!)."

Landsvirkjun Hydroelectric Plant

"With the interactive displays, we were able to understand the different ways that Iceland generates energy and heat: wind turbines, hydroelectric plants, and geothermal plants. In fact, much of us, like Kyra, were amazed about the efficiency of the wind turbines and the great impact it has on the lifestyle of the Icelandic people"

Þórsmörk Trail Hike

"As we climbed higher and higher, we began to forget our pains and take in the beauty that surrounded us. We felt truly privileged to be able to witness such an untouched, majestic environment. For many of us, we had never seen anything like it. With the promise of better views the higher we went, we felt inspired and energized to push forward.

In the end, everyone decided to go as we had not come to Iceland for an easy voyage, we came to challenge ourselves. After many breaks of rest and encouragement, we finally got up the mountain. Excited and eager to capture such an amazing moments, we all took pictures and reveled in the beauty of the land."

Eyjafjallajökull Glacier

"We watched our footing as we carefully crossed bridges made of single wooden planks. We learned about how far this once massive glacier has receded over the past 20 years. Our guide, Magnus, told us about the strength of the world record flash floods that Eyjafjallajökull creates whenever the sub-glacial volcano below it erupts. Everyone in the group got the rare chance to stand on a glacier, and we all witnessed the impact of the changing global temperature on the Earth."

The Puffins

"I was awed by the number of puffins we saw this morning. The puffins had incredible agility, and flew in a loop next to the cliffs. Their faces were striking as well as their orange feet. I left the cliffs outside Vik with much satisfaction for having seen the fabled bird. Sometimes one finds a secluded spot that is like a hidden gem of intimacy for the finder. Walking though the ravine to the waterfall was like stumbling upon one of these gems. Tucked away into the green folds of grassy hills, it was a spot we had to ourselves, and that made it a place of peace where the individual could contemplate and commune with his/her experience. Here, each was able to acquire a sense of intimacy of their own."