Artwork by Lola, age 10
Words by Lola, age 10
Died: 1957 (aged 82-83)
Known for: being a legendary environmentalist!
Sigríður Tómasdóttir was an Icelandic environmentalist who saved the Gullfoss Falls.
Sigríður was born in 1873 in Brattholt, near to Gullfoss Falls. She grew up on her family’s farm, and she and her sisters would act as guides for visitors who wanted to see the waterfalls.
In 1907, Sigríður’s Dad and many other landowners from the area signed a deal to allow the construction of a hydroelectric dam across the Hvítá river. If the dam was built, Gullfoss falls would be completely covered by water! Sigríður w
as very unhappy about this. She took legal action and led many protests. She even hiked the 120 kilometre distance to Reykjavik on foot several times to meet with people from the government to try and stop the dam being built!
Sigríður’s lawyer was Sveinn Björnsson who later became the first president of the republic of Iceland. Sigríður’s attempt to stop the building of the dam through the legal system failed. However, she became very popular with the people of Iceland and in the end the dam was never built.
Sigríður died in 1957. There is a sculpture in her honour that you can see if you ever go and visit Gullfoss Falls. She is remembered as Iceland’s first environmentalist.