Enjoy Your Stay

by Elana Roth Parker in


We all know I went to Iceland in February with my best friend. And I became such an Iceland PR fanatic upon my return (no, seriously, you HAVE to follow @thisisiceland), that when the volcano erupted last week, everyone made sure to check in with me about it, because I'm the only person they know who has been there. 

So the fallout in Europe with all these cancelled flights has been somewhat amusing to me. First, because it means there are even more news reporters trying to pronounce a word that means Island-Mountain-Glacier. Second, unlike all the horrible earthquakes on the other side of the planet, it's one of those crazy natural "disasters" where not a single person has died or gotten hurt. Third, all these stranded travelers can't really blame anyone. And they shouldn't anyway. Flying is that one time where you are forced to relinquish control.

But what I actually like the most about this volcano's eruption is that it reminds humanity who's boss here. The answer? Not us.

It's no secret that I love dystopian fiction. I have also been known to say that I live in New York because I want to be at event zero. I don't want to see the mess that we have to clean up after the apocalypse strikes. I am pretty confident that whatever catastrophe devastates the planet, we had it coming. 

I happen to like seeing the airlines scramble a bit. I think the economic and technological learning curve could benefit from companies having to innovate under pressure. What happens when planes can't fly because we ran out of fuel anyway? The earth doesn't care about stock prices or CEO bonuses, or lost luggage. If this goes on for weeks, some clever solutions will undoubtedly pop up. We get too complacent when we aren't forced to change.

We don't own this planet. We just have enough hubris to act all entitled and do a great job ruining it. And if the Emmerich brothers' movies have taught us anything, it's that nature always gets its way eventually. So when these things happen, all I can think is the planet is saying to us, "Sorry, I just let you live here."

So ash on, Eyjafjallajokull, ash on. Teach humanity a thing or two.