By now, you’ve surely heard that Instagram is ruining nature, with geo-tagged pictures drawing crowds to idyllic locales unprepared to handle the influx. But there is another, secret culprit destroying our planet’s natural resources landmark by landmark, a force so sinister that mere mention of his name draws an instant reaction from the young and old, rich and poor alike: Justin Bieber.
Yes, the Biebs! Before he started selling his religious art on Instagram and long before he married Hailey Bieber (née Baldwin), he was just a pop star with bleached tips making videos for his album Purpose (that’s the one with “Love Yourself,” objectively the best Bieber song). But this isn’t about “Love Yourself,” it’s about “I’ll Show You.” In the video for that song, a hoodie’d JB runs around Iceland, and skateboards, and that’s it. He’s the only human in the entire clip, but he does have one very beautiful costar: Fjaðrárgljúfur, an Icelandic canyon.
The video put Fjaðrárgljúfur on the map, as they say — it’s been viewed more than 440 million times on YouTube — and since then, the terrain has been damaged by the many Beliebers-turned-hikers exploring the area. As a result, local authorities have decided to close the canyon to tourists, and shift the blame toward one mischievous young pop star. “This canyon was somewhat unknown,” Daníel Freyr Jónsson, of the Environment Agency of Iceland, told an Icelandic news station, according to Lonely Planet. “But I think Icelanders have known about it a lot longer. The great increase in foot traffic began after Bieber came. There has been an increase [in tourism] of 50 percent to 80 percent between 2016, 2017, and 2018.”
Inga Hlin Palsdottir, director of the national tourism agency Visit Iceland, added, “It’s just a natural wonder that wasn’t meant to be that popular…We need to build a better infrastructure there so we can invite people all year round. We need paths that can be discovered all year round. It’s not only because of nature, it’s a safety issue.” Iceland plans to re-open the canyon in June, so push back your flight dates if you’ve already got Fjaðrárgljúfur Fever.