Stories written by Lowana Veal
Lowana Veal reports extensively on environmental and conservation issues from Iceland. She has also written for IPS on pioneering development of renewable energy. Lowana was born in Britain, but wrote her first article on environmental issues for a student newspaper in Australia in 1974 while studying for a biology degree in Melbourne. After returning to the U.K., she became involved in various magazine collectives in which she wrote, edited and designed material. She moved to Iceland in 1996 and started writing for IPS in 2004. She balances her writing work by taking people out for horseback rides.

Assumptions on Overfishing Challenged

For decades, fisheries around the world have relied on practices that take for granted certain assumptions about the industry, such as protecting younger fish while exploiting older fish and using trophic levels to monitor the health of fisheries. Recently, however, some scientists have begun to question these unanimously accepted practices. Experts are beginning to think that the science behind the global fishing industry may be completely wrong.

Nets that net too much. Credit: Lowana Veal

ICELAND: Don’t Trust Those Fishy Certificates

New eco-labels on Icelandic seafood are misleading and unregulated, concealing practices that damage the environment, critics say.

The small boat harbour in Reykjavik. Credit: Lowana Veal

ENVIRONMENT: Icelandic Fishing Quotas Turn a Blind Eye to Industry Practices

In Iceland, strict quotas on the fishing industry result in unnecessary waste and distort data, say critics of the system.

ENERGY: Little Iceland Digs Deep and Far for More

Iceland's economy has been rocky since the bank collapse in October 2008, but one field has been expanding -- geothermal energy.

EUROPE: Getting Into a Stew over Mackerel

The British have a fascination for the rich, fatty meat of the mackerel, that summertime extravagance often served as pates and salads at fashionable pubs and restaurants. A far cry from the humble cod that is a staple of the more downmarket chip shops on the nation's high streets.

Ash clouds beneath the Eyjafjallajokull glacier. Credit: Lowana Veal

ICELAND: The Ash Comes Down Like a Blessing to Some

"It's unbelievable, the eruption has had a very good effect on the grass," says farmer Finnur Tryggvason in Raudafell, just beneath the Eyjafjallajokull glacier that erupted in April and continued till late May.

The prison where some of the Kaupthing bank officials are being held.  Credit: Lowana Veal/IPS

ICELAND: Int’l Arrest Warrant Against Top Bank Official

Vigorously pursuing those allegedly responsible for Iceland’s 2008 financial crisis, investigators have got issued an international arrest warrant against Sigurdur Einarsson, chairman of the board of governors of the failed Kaupthing Bank.

RIGHTS: Iceland Wakes Up to Trafficking for Sex Work

It took the conviction of five Lithuanian men in March, on charges of bringing a 19-year-old girl into Iceland for sex work, before this country truly woke up to the reality of trafficking.

Plumes of ash streaming away from the Eyjafjallajökull glacier in Iceland. Credit: Lowana Veal/IPS

ENVIRONMENT-ICELAND: Living With Volcanic Eruptions

Incredible as it may seem, daily life for the vast majority of Icelanders is completely unaffected by the volcanic eruption under the Eyjafjallajökull glacier, that has left thousands of air passengers around the world stranded due to flight cancellations.

ENVIRONMENT: Whaling Profitable but Bad for Iceland’s Image

Early April Greenpeace protestors in Rotterdam intercepted seven containers with 140 kg of fin whale meat from Iceland, destined for Japan. They said that the import of whale meat to the Netherlands is illegal, but Dutch authorities turn a blind eye on consignments destined elsewhere.

Reyjavik's city prison Credit: Lowana Veal/IPS

ICELAND: They Also Serve Who Wait For a Prison Seat

After a nail-biting wait of more than a year Jon Palsson (not real name) is happy to have secured a place in the city jail and get an early enough chance to serve out a four-month sentence for drunk driving.

/CORRECTED REPEAT*/ICELAND: Questions Hang Over EU Membership

Views within Iceland towards membership of the European Union (EU) are mixed. Though Iceland has officially decided to apply for EU membership this does not mean that it will join, even if invited to do so.

Learning skills at Fjolsmidjan Credit: Lowana Veal/IPS

LABOUR-ICELAND: Centre Gives Leg Up to Listless Youth

For young Icelanders at a loose end the Fjolsmidjan (multi-workshop) can prove to be a turning point.

The Thjorsa river has five hydroelectric plants but is due for more. Credit: Lowana Veal/IPS

ENERGY-ICELAND: Osmotic, Tidal Power Show Promise

Iceland already gets over 72 percent of its energy from renewable, hydroelectric and geothermal sources, but Icelanders are ambitious when it comes to energy and scientists are now looking at osmotic and tidal power to meet future energy needs.

Sigurdur Jonsson's hydro power plant is a model for renewable energy farmers. Credit: Lowana Veal/IPS

ENVIRONMENT-ICELAND: Do-it-Yourself Renewable Energy Catches On

When Innovation Centre Iceland (ICI) managers began courses in farming renewable energy in October they were unprepared for the enthusiastic response from citizens.

FINANCE: Icelanders Question IMF Loan

After eight months of waiting, Iceland is finally back on the agenda of the IMF. The second instalment of the IMF loan was agreed at the end of last month and has now been transferred to Iceland.

Wetland near Reykjavik. Credit: Lowana Veal

ENVIRONMENT: Making Wetlands Count

Iceland wants wetland restoration to be assessed for emission reduction units at the summit to work out a new deal on climate change in December in Copenhagen.

The borehole at the Agricultural University's site in Hveragerdi. Credit: Lowana Veal

ENVIRONMENT: Earth Can Generate Summer out of Winter

Iceland manages to produce tomatoes, paprika and cucumbers all year round by harnessing geothermal energy locally, even though the growing season is short.

Steam arising from the Nesjavellir plant. Credit:

ENERGY: Geothermal Is Not So Clean

Geothermal energy has always been thought of as a clean, renewable form of power, but since the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant began operation about 30 km from central Reykjavik in 2006, various problems have come to light.

ICELAND: Living With Ghost Towns*

Icelandic municipalities are being forced to repay individuals who had been allocated building land in new residential areas but can no longer afford to build.

ICELAND: Taking the First Turn Left

Iceland's Social Democratic Alliance and the Left-Green Party won the majority of the seats in the Apr. 25 election, and will continue to work together for the next four years as the ruling coalition.

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