On Earth Day’s past, I’ve often focused my thoughts on how to lessen my carbon footprint, and on the destructive impact of modern human activity on our planet. Today, though, I’m thinking more about the Earth’s impact on humans. The erupting Eyjafjallajökull makes Earth Day 2010 all feel a bit ironic.

Planes or Volcano?With air travel considered a principle contributor to climate change, perhaps this “act of God” that halted over 100,000 flights is Mother Nature’s way of saying, “We’ll, if you’re not going to do anything about this, then I will!”

There are many stunning images of the Icelandic volcano floating around online, including the photos above that capture the direct impact to south Iceland’s landscape and inhabitants.

But, some of the most awe-inspiring images come from the Flickr set of Örvar Atli Þorgeirsson, a photographer from Hafnarfjörður. I’d hoped to post these, both because of their beauty and quality and because of his intriguing descriptions. Alas, a photo service with deeper pockets owns exclusive rights to his images. With this photo, Þorgeirsson asks a question that sticks with me in a long view of this Earth Day:

“I have been thinking is this volcano destructive or constructive? On short times scale it might be destructive, causing local damage and global problems. On a long time scale it is constructive as this island I live on with all its beautiful landscape has been created by volcanic activity.”

Infographic courtesy of Information is Beautiful

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