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What Do The Economic Impacts of the Eyjafjallajokull Eruption Say About the Supply Chain of Consumer Products?

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Wednesday's eruption of Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull didn't just fill the air with ash and cause a mass cancellation of passenger flights over the UK and France—it's also completely disrupted the Fedex and DHL shipping schedule, which means anyone in the UK who mail-ordered, say, Apple products (or anything from abroad, really) just isn't getting their stuff delivered. The eruption has also all-but halted the import of fresh fruits and vegetables from abroad and will cause airlines to lose tens of millions of dollars.

Iceland's revenge on the world economy has given us a glimpse of a world without air travel. We are used to images of stranded passengers—marooned by terrorism, industrial action or perhaps just our overcrowded and underinvested aviation industry... But it also had a post-apocalyptic feel about it, more reminiscent of a Hollywood disaster movie than environmental utopia.

More important is the psychological impact of such events. The terrorist attacks of 11 September forced many companies to re-examine the resilience of their supply chains—but that was nearly a decade ago now, and the continued march of globalisation will have left many of them vulnerable. Climate change should force business to think more about the alternatives, but it rarely does. Greens should also celebrate this timely reminder of what the world might look like when the oil runs out.

· How the volcano took out our fruit salad [Guardian]
· Eyjafjallajokull erupts: Mass flight cancellations and a printed tunic [Racked]