Europe has over-developed most its’ wilderness areas

How Much Wilderness is left in Europe?

Europe’s Last True Wilderness is Under Attack. Europe has an estimated 500 or so fragmented wilderness areas left scattered throughout the continent. Most of its’ wilderness areas are in northern Scandinavian countries, and are staggered and isolated from each other. Iceland’s Highlands are really a last hope for Europe’s wilderness. There is really no comparable place like it anywhere, not just in Europe, but on earth. To quote the Hálendið or “Highland” National Park initiative:

“The central highland contains volcanoes, glaciers, voluminous rivers and waterfalls, colorful hot springs, vast lava fields and broad expanses of black sand, all contrasted with oases of vibrant but vulnerable vegetation. Collectively, these natural phenomena and magnificent landscapes form one of the most vibrant areas in the world”.

Two hikers walk through beautiful snowy landscape.

What’s Special About the Highlands?

The geology, nature, landscapes and sheer epic size is unlike anywhere else. It’s easily possible to wander around the highlands for days, if not weeks without seeing another soul. The earth’s total wilderness areas has decreased from 33% just a single generation ago, down to 23%. The decrease in wilderness is usually due to animal agriculture, mass logging, oil and gas, and hydro. In Iceland’s case, their direct threat to their beloved highlands is hydro infrastructure in the form of dams and electrical pylons.

The Highland National Park initiative is raising awareness and funds in hopes to establish a national park protecting all 40000 square kilometres of the highlands. With Europe’s last true wilderness under attack, protecting only 14000 square km with the current national parks, it isn’t enough. The protection from the park would stop all corporate interest from destroying its’ nature. The national park would have the power to effectively conserve one of the last true wildernesses areas, not just in Europe, but the world.

You Can Help Make a Change

To help with the Highland National Park initiative please sign its’ petition, it takes 15 seconds, and you can help make a real difference. Click here.

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Written by Ryan Michael Richardson

Co-Owner / Photographer of Life Outside Studio Contributor at Life Outside Online

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