Environmentalists have a new reason to roll their eyes at Justin Bieber. According to the Associated Press, a canyon on the southern coast of Iceland where the Biebs shot a 2015 music video has been overrun with ecologically destructive tourists ever since.
This was first widely reported in March, when the Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon closed a second time following what was supposed to be temporary closing in January. Authorities are gearing up to re-open the land again in June, but as new reporting by the AP shows, it hasn’t entirely gotten a break since its official closure.
The picturesque Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon is now a landmark known far and wide, especially among Justin Bieber fans. In his video for “I’ll Show You,” Bieber is seen running along green hills, carefully making his way along moss-covered ridges, and eventually jumping into the ice-cold water. Apparently, swarms of fans have tried to follow in his footsteps.
The Environment Agency of Iceland estimates a million people have visited the area since Bieber’s video, taking a toll on the land. In a year, the number of visitors to this canyon doubled, per the Telegraph. The Icelandic terrain is volcanic, featuring fluffy soil that’s easily eroded by trampling feet. That’s why authorities closed down the canyon in March; the soil was still thawing and particularly vulnerable.
But the closure hasn’t deterred everyone. Fans who really want to know what it feels like to be the Biebs are ignoring signs directing them to stay away from the land and even offering rangers bribes to try and “sweet-talk” their way in, reports the AP. If weather conditions stay dry, the Environment Agency of Iceland may consider re-opening the canyon in a few weeks. Otherwise, the influx of visitors is too risky.
Bieber probably doesn’t deserve all of the blame for this mess. Tourism is on the rise throughout the island. In 2018, the country saw more than 2 million foreign visitors, some 120,000 more than the year before. The rise has been more dramatic in years past, with some years seeing increases as high as 40 percent, according to Icelandic online newspaper Kjarninn Miðlar. Americans make up most of these tourists.
Let’s hope Americans aren’t also the ones obsessing over Bieber’s damn music video. But, alas, that would come as no surprise.