Last week, Justin Bieber and Major Lazer dropped the video to "Cold Water," their hit collaboration with Mø. Shot in Iceland, the video does not feature any of the artists, but does show a handful of dancers enjoying the stunning scenery of the Nordic country. They dance under Skógafoss waterfall, around a fire, on Reynisfara black sand beach, on a clifftop, and across moss. Wait, what? Apparently nobody in the entire filming crew got the message that you don't trample on Iceland's fragile moss. Not OK.
“This is probably the worst treatment you could imagine for the moss, to jump up and down on it,” Snorri Baldursson, director of the Icelandic Environment Association, told Vísir. “A moss heath such as the kind that grows in Eldhraun is one of the most delicate ecosystems in the country. It can tolerate almost no footsteps. A single footprint retains its shape for a whole summer. When such moss has been hopped up and down on, the top layer is destroyed, and it has a difficult time recovering from the damage.”
Icelandic moss is lovely, thick, and soft and so some tourists have been tempted to pick it up to use as a selfie prop. It is also, however, extremely delicate and takes decades to grow back, if it is not irrevocably damaged. Some people have even been known to have removed moss to “write” their name on a hillside. Don't do this: It's one of the dumbest things to do in Iceland.
Tourism in Iceland is booming — rising from 595,000 in 2000 to 4.4 million in 2014 — but that's not necessarily a good thing for Iceland. The landscape is fragile and tourists behave badly. As if messing up moss wasn't enough, tourists are guilty of driving off-road without the appropriate vehicle, climbing onto icebergs, ignoring warning signs and thus stretching Iceland's all-volunteer search and rescue teams to their limit. Disgustingly, people are also pooping all over the place.
With all these problems in mind, the "Cold Water" video could have been an opportunity for Bieber to show he's learned his lesson since the last video he shot in Iceland, "I'll Show You," was criticized for showing him rolling around on precious moss and encouraging fans to go "tromping around" protected areas. Alas it was not to be. Bieber does Bieber's thing.
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