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Ministry of Imagination

Farewell Falsterbo

Farewell Falsterbo is fictive. However, it is knowledge-based speculation. Much of the story is inspired by existing proposals, emerging innovations, or research on the transformations needed to adapt our societies to climate change. We have collected some of these imaginative seeds below so that you can understand and construct your own vision of the future.


Click the links below to jump to a topic you find interesting. 

How vulnerable is Skanör-Falsterbo to the effects of climate change? 

   - The planned levee in Skanör-Falsterbo 

Could this happen?

   - Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP)

   - Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSP)

   - Sea-level rise in the different scenarios

   - The 1872 Baltic Sea Flood

What separates the worlds of the two stories?

   - Scenario: Conflict

   - Scenario: Cooperation

What are the current strategies for climate change adaptation?

   - Defence, attack and retreat – strategies against rising sea-levels

   - Levees

   - Managed Retreat

   - Flexible land-use

   - Evacuation towers

   - “Stiltsville”

   - The National Climate Adaptation Agency

   - Vision Zero

   - Preparedness and civil defence

Terms and concepts

   - Climate neutrality

   - Relocation support and home insurance

   - Aquaponics

   - Flommen

   - Eelgrass

How vulnerable is Skanör-Falsterbo to the effects of climate change? 

Skanör-Falsterbo is a particularly low and flat area in the southwestern part of Skåne, that already today is affected by flooding. As climate change progresses, the sea level will rise and storms become more powerful and more frequent. This means that Skanör-Falsterbo will become even more affected by flooding in the future. Because of this, Vellinge municipality has proposed the construction of a 23 km long levee around the peninsula to protect both existing buildings and the inhabitants of the area. The levee is planned to be a combination of embankments made of earth, but some parts will also consist of walls and already existing sand-embankments.

The planned levee in Skanör-Falsterbo

Like many other large infrastructural projects, the levee in Skanör-Falsterbo is perceived in different ways by different people. Shortly put, there are three main lines of critique from inhabitants and experts.

The first line of critique claims that the levee risks destroying valuable nature. Vellinge municipality have for a long time been drawn into court proceedings regarding the construction of levees around Skanör-Falsterbo. Their first application for construction permits to the Land and Environment Court was granted to a large degree. However, the municipality was declined permission to construct the levee on the Heather, a part of the peninsula classified as Natura 2000, a designation which means that the EU considers the area extra worthy of protection. Both the municipality and the County Administrative Board of Skåne appealed this decision to the Land and Environment Court of Appeals. The municipality did this because they wanted permission to build on the Heather, and the County Administrative Board since they thought that even longer stretches of the levee made infringements on protected natural areas. At the time of writing the court process is nearing its end, and a final decision regarding the permit will arrive soon. Vellinge municipality has also planned to start constructing test levees on permitted area in order to test the construction and its effects on the landscape. You can read more about the process by clicking this link (Swedish). 

The second line of critique claims that the levee will not be enough. One group, spearheaded by the area’s local golf clubs, argues that it would be better if the barrier was built outside the coast at sea. In this way, the whole peninsula would be surrounded by the levee, instead of the golf courts today being positioned outside it. They also argue that the current plan for the levee would ruin their view of the environment and give passers-by a direct view into the local residents’ homes. Opponents of this “golf club proposal” claim that the costs for both the nature and the municipal economy are too large and that a levee further inland allows for better protection, since waves have already lost a lot of their power as they wash over the levee. They also want to wait for more knowledge about future needs and technological advances which can improve the performance of an outer levee. Click here to read an SVT article on the arguments of this line of critique (in Swedish). 

The third line of critique argues that constructing the levee means that Skanör-Falsterbo locks itself into a false sense of security. They mean that there is a risk that the levee will not be enough to stop a particularly big and long-lasting storm. These groups argue that there is a risk that people will choose not to evacuate, or will not prepare themselves since they think that the levee will protect their house. They also mean that it is irresponsible to live on the peninsula long term, since the present prognoses show that the conditions will only worsen over time. Instead, they recommend strong evacuation protocols and managed retreat (see below). 

Could this happen?

The two scenarios in the walk are based on the latest climate research by the UN body known as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). As a way of exploring the future climate, they develop scenarios based on how much global warming can come to increase (called RCP:s) and how this would be affected by societal development (called SSP:s). By basing the soundwalk on these future scenarios, our intention (just like for the IPCC) is not to say that one or the other will happen in that exact way, but instead to point at how climate policies implemented today not only affect what the world looks like when the decisions are made, but also have real consequences further on. By dividing the soundwalk into two different scenarios, one based on cooperation and one based on conflict, we want to make a case for the importance of coordinated, strategic and long-term climate adaptation work. We also want to open up the debate regarding climate adaptation strategies and create a fertile soil for conversations about how we want to reach a fossil-free and climate adapted society. 

Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) 

RCP is a model used to describe seven different potential scenarios for how the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will develop from now until year 2100. They reflect everything from a future where we quickly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and then persistently keep them down, to a future where we completely ignore emission reduction and continue to increase our emissions throughout the 21st century (as well as several other possibilities between these two outliers). They are named after the amount of radiative forcing (the difference between the incoming and outgoing energy of Earth) in Watts per square meter that global emissions will lead to by the year 2100.   

RCP 1.9: Global emissions decrease in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement, which result in an increased global temperature of below 1.5 degrees by the year 2100. 

RCP 2.6: Carbon dioxide emissions decrease from 2020 and reach zero in year 2100. Methane emissions are reduced by half in comparison to the amount in year 2020. This results in a global increase in temperature of below 2 degrees by year 2100. 

RCP 3.4: A middle ground between the stricter RCP 2.6 and the higher emissions of RCP 4.5. Results in a global temperature increase of between 2.0 - 2.4 degrees by year 2100.  

RCP 4.5: Yet another middle ground scenario, but slightly more dramatic. Emissions of greenhouse gases peak in year 2040 and then diminish. Carbon dioxide emissions need to start decreasing by the year 2045 to then been halved by year 2100 in relation to the amount of emissions in 2050. Results in a global temperature increase of between 2.0 - 3.0 degrees. Several plant and animal species will find it hard to adapt to this and the higher RCP scenarios. 

RCP 6.0: In this scenario, emissions reach their peak in the year 2080 and diminish thereafter.  

RCP 7.0: Emissions remain on present-day level throughout the 21st century. 

RCP 8.5: Emissions continue to increase throughout the 21st century. This scenario is used as a catastrophic scenario and is considered relatively unlikely. However, it cannot be completely written off, since climate scientists do not fully know which consequences increased emissions and a higher global average temperature might have. This scenario results in a global temperature increase of around 5 degrees or more.

SMHI (The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute) have also summarized the different RCP scenarios here (in Swedish). 

Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSP) 

SSP is a model designed to expand upon and add nuance to the RCP-model. The SSP model has also been developed by the IPCC. It consists of five different scenarios that are connected to the seven RCP scenarios. The difference between the RCP and the SSP is that the RCP model only looks at emissions and total energy levels, whereas the SSP model instead focuses on creating socioeconomic stories around the global societies that different types of climate politics can result in. The five SSP scenarios are located at different points in a graph. One side describes how great the challenges regarding the emissions of greenhouse gases are. The other side depicts how great the challenges faced by climate-politics are in terms of adapting society to already existing consequences of climate change. The SSP model also features projections for how the world can come to evolve over the coming century, in regards to the size of global population, urbanisation, GDP per capita and energy use, among others. In the Farewell Falsterbo soundwalk, the cooperative scenario is based on SSP1 and the conflict scenario on SSP3.

SSP1 (“Sustainability - Taking the Green Road”): The world shifts gradually, but pervasively, toward a more sustainable path, emphasizing more inclusive development that respects perceived environmental boundaries. Management of the global commons slowly improves, educational and health investments accelerate the demographic transition, and the emphasis on economic growth shifts toward a broader emphasis on human well-being. Driven by an increasing commitment to achieving development goals, inequality is reduced both across and within countries. Consumption is oriented toward low material growth and lower resource and energy intensity. Connected to RCP 1.9 - 2.6. 

SSP2 (“Middle of the Road”): The world follows a path in which social, economic, and technological trends do not shift markedly from historical patterns. Development and income growth proceeds unevenly, with some countries making relatively good progress while others fall short of expectations. Global and national institutions work toward but make slow progress in achieving sustainable development goals. Environmental systems experience degradation, although there are some improvements and overall, the intensity of resource and energy use declines. Global population growth is moderate and levels off in the second half of the century. Income inequality persists or improves only slowly and challenges to reducing vulnerability to societal and environmental changes remain. Connected to RCP 3.4 - 4.5. This scenario is considered plausible by researchers.

SSP3 (“Regional Rivalry – A Rocky Road”): A resurgent nationalism, concerns about competitiveness and security, and regional conflicts push countries to increasingly focus on domestic or, at most, regional issues. Policies shift over time to become increasingly oriented toward national and regional security issues. Countries focus on achieving energy and food security goals within their own regions at the expense of broad-based development. Investments in education and technological development decline. Economic development is slow, consumption is material-intensive, and inequalities persist or worsen over time. Population growth is low in industrialized countries and high in developing countries. A low international priority for addressing environmental concerns leads to strong environmental degradation in some regions. Connected to RCP 7.0. This scenario is considered unlikely.

SSP4 (“Inequality - A Road Divided”): Highly unequal investments in human capital, combined with increasing disparities in economic opportunity and political power, lead to increasing inequalities and stratification both across and within countries. Over time, a gap widens between an internationally-connected society that contributes to knowledge- and capital-intensive sectors of the global economy, and a fragmented collection of lower-income, poorly educated societies that work in a labour intensive, low-tech economy. Social cohesion degrades and conflict and unrest become increasingly common. Technological development is high in the high-tech economy and sectors. The globally connected energy sector diversifies, with investments in both carbon-intensive fuels like coal and unconventional oil, but also low-carbon energy sources. Environmental policies focus on local issues around middle- and high-income areas. This scenario is considered unlikely. 

SSP5 (“Fossil-fuelled Development – Taking the Highway”): This world place increasing faith in competitive markets, innovation, and participatory societies to produce rapid technological progress and development of human capital as the path to sustainable development. Global markets are increasingly integrated. There are also strong investments in health, education, and institutions to enhance human and social capital. At the same time, the push for economic and social development is coupled with the exploitation of abundant fossil fuel resources and the adoption of resource and energy intensive lifestyles around the world. All these factors lead to rapid growth of the global economy, while global population peaks and declines in the 21st century. Local environmental problems like air pollution are successfully managed. There is faith in the ability to effectively manage social and ecological systems, including geo-engineering if necessary. Connected to RCP 8.5. This scenario is considered highly unlikely. 

Further reading: 

  • SMHI (The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute) has summarized the different SSP scenarios as well. You can find them here (in Swedish).
  • Read a scientific article (in English) about the different SSP scenarios by clicking here.
  • If you want to read more about energy, land use and emissions in relation to the SSP model (in English), click here.
  • Here you can read more about how the SSP scenarios have related to fictive stories of climate futures (in English). 

Sea-level rise in the different scenarios

The data regarding the sea-level rise and extreme flood events in the soundwalk are gathered from the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute’s (SMHI) climate database (In Swedish), the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency’s (MSB) high water projections in the Falsterbo area (In Swedish), and the IPCC interactive database (In English).  

The global sea level has risen faster during the latest decades than in several thousand years. This is because of anthropogenic (human-created) climate change. The sea-level rise depends on two factors. One the one hand, the warmer the water gets, the more space it takes up. On the other hand, melting icecaps and glaciers lead to an increase in the amount of water in the oceans. In Sweden, however, the sea appears to be rising at different speeds at different locations. This is because the land is still rising after the latest ice-age in the north part of Sweden. However, in southern Sweden the land rise has slowed down, which is why the water stands taller there. Sea-level rise can have several consequences. Apart from the dangers of extreme flood events which are discussed in the soundwalk, a higher sea-level can also result in salt water leaking into wells and lakes, which reduces the quality of the drinking water and can lead to conflicts. Sea-level rise can also contribute to erosion, which is when water pulls sand out into the sea. This changes beaches and coastlines, something which in turn affects both humans and nature. How much the sea-level will rise in Skåne depends on how much greenhouse gases are emitted during the coming decades, and with it which RCP scenario we land in. In other words, we can have everything from a 55 to a 94 cm rise depending on how quickly and efficiently we reduce our emissions. 

Read more about the SMHI’s projections for future water levels by clicking here (In Swedish).  

The 1872 Baltic Sea Flood

On the night of the 13th November 1872, a storm blew in over the Baltic Sea. After the fact, this storm came to be known as the 1872 Baltic Sea Flood. The storm flooded large parts of the western and south-western Baltic Sea and caused massive damage to the north coast of Germany, the east coast of Denmark and the south coast of Sweden. During the days before the 13th of November strong winds had been blowing, which had led to increased water levels in the Baltic Sea. At first, the winds blew from the southwest, which made large quantities of water press up against the eastern edge of the Baltic Sea. After about a day the wind changed and started blowing in the opposite direction, so all the water that had been pressed up towards the east rushed in towards the southwest. As the storm drew nearer and the wind increased in strength, the water and the waves were pushed higher and higher up. The result spelled for disaster for the people living on the shores of the Baltic Sea. In Skanör-Falsterbo the sea stood 2.4 metres above the average water level, which resulted in the road connecting the peninsula to the rest of Skåne being cut off. The lighthouse was also flooded and several boats were lost. In Simrishamn, Skillinge, and Ystad large waves ripped apart ships, broke houses, and dragged-out people into the sea. In total, 271 people died all around the Baltic Sea, 2885 buildings were destroyed, and 15 160 people were made homeless. The 1872 Baltic Sea Flood took place in a time when the average sea-level had not risen markedly as a result of climate change. Today, the sea-level is higher than it was back then, and it will continue to rise even if we successfully eliminate all our greenhouse gas emissions. This means that extreme flood events such as the 1872 Baltic Sea Flood will become more and more common, something that has to be taken into account when climate policy is shaped.

Read a scientific article about how the 1872 Baltic Sea Flood and other historic flood events can be used as a basis for risk analysis by clicking here (In Swedish). 

What separates the worlds of the two stories?

There are an infinite amount of possible futures, and every decision we take today influences which one we get. In Farewell Falsterbo, the listener can experience two possible future worlds. 

Scenario: Conflict

The central idea of this scenario is that the conflicts which we see today – between groups, countries and ideologies – are intensified and stand in the way of ambitious climate policy. It is based on SSP3 (see above). In this world economic growth has stalled, regionalism and nationalism has increased and cooperation both within and between countries has broken down. An economic crisis during the late 2020s leads to rapidly increasing socio-economic gaps in Sweden. An ever-growing group of people start to argue for putting economic growth over issues of green transition, which lead to the already begun transition slowing down. The fragmented debate results in growing regionalism, since every municipality wants the right to decide on their own economic and climate policy. Demands for a more federalist political system grow stronger and in 2035 the parliament votes yes to a law which grants the municipalities greater self-governance. The national coordination and cooperation in Sweden break down and it becomes harder to move between different municipalities, counties, and regions. The increased federalism also results in the work towards counteracting climate change completely falling apart. Some socio-economically strong municipalities in areas affected by climate change use this increase in self-governing power to launch massive high-technological climate adaptation projects. Other less socio-economically resourceful municipalities instead choose to focus on increased economic growth by investing in low-technological business sectors as a way of trying to employ as many people as possible.  

Scenario: Cooperation

The central idea of this scenario is that people and organisations are willing to compromise in order to come up with collective solutions to addressing climate change. This scenario is based on the IPCC scenario SSP1 (see above). The war in Ukraine results in citizens and politicians alike having their eyes opened regarding the complex problems that are central to a society dependent on fossil fuels. This leads to the dependency on oil and gas being quickly phased out and replaced by renewable energy sources. Extreme weather and storms around the world, not least in Europe and Sweden, lead to an increased public engagement with issues of climate change in the mid-2020s and early 2030s. A strong environmental movement is established, one which propagates behavioural change from an unregulated market-driven economy to a more equal society focusing on social justice, human well-being, and the environment. This social mobilization leads to political action, and several green parties with roots in different green ideologies such as eco-feminism, eco-socialism, and eco-modernism are established. The Swedish parliamentary parties form the Climate Link, a network focusing on setting the agenda for a just and environmental green transition. They act as productive counter forces to each other, with the eco-modernist party valuing investments in technological development, while the eco-feminist and the eco-socialist parties demand a more just transition with less focus on economic growth. The government starts ambitious political projects, where large parts of the budget go to health, education, research, and climate adaptation. Sweden is at the forefront and advocate for international regulations regarding environment and climate change issues. The technological evolution is rapid, and Sweden exports innovative technological solutions to other countries, while the government at the same time gives more support and space for action to the municipalities and County Administrative Boards for their respective efforts. Resistance movements that prioritize economic growth over transition issues decline in strength when citizens realize that the transition will not significantly affect the economy. This is thanks to the fact that predictive decisions regarding investments, as well as well thought-through agreements and policy instruments, have been put into place. The Swedish population receives training in civil preparedness for climate related disasters from an early age, and routines for climate adaptation are put forth and implemented by the government through the newly established National Climate Change Adaptation Agency. 

What are the current strategies for climate change adaptation? 


Defence, attack and retreat – strategies against rising sea-levels 

There are multiple ways to plan and protect coastal areas from flooding. Three different kinds of categories are commonly used: defence, attack and retreat. Defence is composed of various ways to prevent sea water from entering the existing built environment. An example would be constructing levees, sea walls, and flood gates. Attack involves building elevated structures in the sea, like beach nourishments and artificial islands along the coast that reduce the force of the waves and creates a buffer-zone between the ocean and the built environment. Retreat as strategy is about accepting the reality of rising sea-levels and letting sea water in among the urban spaces, as well as moving critical infrastructure and settlements away from flood risk areas. In Farewell Falsterbo we mainly focus on Attack and Retreat. 

You can read more about climate adaptation strategies on SMHI’s web-page by clicking this link.


“We’re a few hundred meters into the swamp now. We’re approaching a long levee that rises up, a few meters high, with a footpath at the top.” 

Constructing a levee as a barrier between the ocean and the bult environment is one type of defence strategy to prevent sea water from entering. The levee is usually made of earth and runs parallel with low-lying coastal lines. A levee occupies more land than a sea wall as it consists of a levee crown with slopes on both sides. The advantage of a levee is that it reduces the force of the waves with the inclination of the slopes. Although levees are perceived as a permanent solution for coastal protection, the earthen embankment erodes in contact with water. Therefore, earthen levees both need to be maintained and inspected once in a while and rebuilt after a storm surge.  

Managed Retreat

“So the government stepped in and bought up the wrecked houses, on the condition that the people who lived there moved somewhere else.” 

Skanör-Falsterbo looks very different today compared to the collaborative version of the soundwalk. Many of the houses that exist today are no longer there and the government bought the houses on the condition that the people who lived there moved to a safer area. This kind of coastal protection strategy is called Managed Retreat. Managed retreat is a planned, controlled, and strategic long-term strategy to adapt societies by relocating to other areas. More specifically, it includes the successive relocation of assets to safer ground and restoration of the land that is left behind and return it to nature. In Sweden, managed retreat is in an early phase and has not yet been explicitly researched. The Swedish Geotechnical Institute (SGI) had a research project called CAMEL (Climate Adaptation by Managed Realignment) between 2018-2020 that analysed the environmental, social, economic, governance, and technical obstacles to Managed Realignment at different societal levels.  

There are several places in the world where managed retreat has been implemented further than in Sweden. Indonesia is planning to relocate their capital city from the island Java to East Kalimantan on Borneo. The current capital city, which is home to more than 10 million people, lies below the sea level and researchers have estimated that the north part of the city could be entirely submerged by 2050. The relocation to the new capital city, Nusantara is planned over a ten-year period. The government of Fiji has identified that there are 830 communities that are at risk from climate change and are in need of relocation. Some relocation projects have already been conducted and 45 communities needs relocation within the next 5–10 years. Managed retreat has also been performed in the UK.  

Click here to read more about CAMEL, SGI’s research project on managed retreat (in Swedish). Read a scientific article about the project by clicking here.  

Flexible land-use

“So we stopped in front of the big aquaponics tanks. As you can tell, the smell is pretty unique! But my Mom grew up with this smell. There used to be houses here, too, but now there are just these iron tanks all along the street.”

In the collaborative version of Farewell Falsterbo we encounter another kind of coastal protection strategy: Flexible land-use. This kind of strategy can be seen as a more intermediate strategy in comparison to Managed Retreat. While Managed Retreat focuses on relocating the built environment to safer ground, Flexible land-use focuses on how to make use of these risk areas in the meantime. Flexible land-use means to successively give place for seawater and allow for a dynamic and shifting coastline where areas at risk could be used for functions that can later be changed, moved, or abandoned when the effects of a changing climate become too great or too costly. Example of functions for the flexible land could be recreational activities (like a football court or a golf court), other events like festivals, markets, walking lanes and bike lanes, and temporary accommodations.

Similarly to Managed Retreat, Flexible land-use is in an early phase in Sweden. SGI has an ongoing research project called COALA (Coastal Adaptation through flexible Land-use); it started in 2022 and will go on for four years. The aim of the research project is to investigate how flexible planning and flexible land-use could be used as potential strategies to deal with the long-term impacts of rising sea levels and coastal erosion. 

Although flexible land-use has not been implemented in Sweden yet, there are other examples that are based on similar principles. One example is stormwater parks, on whose land certain types of construction and activity is forbidden, but where other activities can take place and which also acts as a green sponge that cleans and stores urban storm water. One such example is the water park in Hyllie, which you can read more about here (in Swedish).

Click here if you want to read more about SGI’s research project COALA (in Swedish). 

Evacuation towers

“That’s pretty impressive. The wooden structure is several meters high, and up there is a big room, and a few smaller huts.”

A cornerstone in the collaboration version of the soundwalk is the Safe Heaven Tower, which is an evacuation tower. Evacuation towers are intended to provide temporary refuge in the event of a tsunami, hurricane, or other natural disasters. This kind of strategy is used in some places in the U.S. and Japan for instance. Evacuation towers can be horizontal or vertical depending on its usage, it can be part of a building or a separate tower. In the soundwalk, the church in Skanör can be seen as an evacuation tower or evacuation facility in the presence of storms and floods.


“You can see for yourself. There’s a high wall, at least a hundred meters long, along the street, and behind it is Stiltsville. It’s huge –it fills up two blocks –and it’s on stilts several meters high, so it looks like it’s flying.” 

Stiltsville in the conflict version of Farewell Falsterbo is inspired by private solutions to climate-proofing houses, which are commonly used in the U.S. Many places in the U.S. are more frequently flooded than current risk areas in Sweden today, and they also have a different insurance scheme. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the U.S. estimate Base Flood Elevation (BFE) for different areas. The BFE is the elevation of surface water resulting from a flood that has a 1% chance of equaling or exceeding that level in any given year. The BFE level is then used by many insurance companies. Houses where the building’s lowest level is above the BFE are less likely to become flooded and can therefore have a lower premium than houses where the building’s lowest level is below the BFE. One potential solution could be to lift the house off the ground by building it on stilts. In that case, the house is less likely to become flooded and the house owner can have a lower insurance premium. Currently in Sweden, the property owner is responsible for climate proofing their buildings. In the future, we might see more of these individual solutions to climate change adaptation. 

The National Climate Adaptation Agency

“That was when responsibility for flooding in Sweden was taken over by a completely new agency: The National Climate Adaptation Agency.”

Presently, there is no national agency in Sweden with overarching responsibility for climate change adaptation. Instead, the work is divided among various government agencies who each is responsible for providing support and assistance within different sectoral issues. For instance, the Swedish Board of Agriculture and the Swedish Forest Agency are responsible for climate change adaptation support within the agriculture and forestry sectors, while the National Veterinary Institute is responsible for adaptation work related to knowledge and science on animal production and health. Moreover, the County Administrative Boards are responsible for coordinating the climate change adaptation work regionally and support the municipalities in their work. The municipalities have a very important role in the climate adaptation work. This is because they have a uniquely elevated status in Sweden when it comes to controlling land use and spatial planning, something often referred to as the local planning monopoly. Therefore, they have great influence in the physical planning and infrastructure for water for the local adaptation to climate change. This is a more decentralized way to govern the climate change adaptation work than is the case in many other European countries. On the other hand, Sweden implemented a national climate change adaptation strategy in 2018, with the purpose of strengthening the national coordination of climate change adaptation work. 

Vision Zero

“We were seeing more and more floods all over the world in those days, and there was a terrible drought in the Middle East. At home, we wanted to put pressure on the local authorities. So, Parliament decided that Sweden should have a zero vision. No humans should die because of climate change.” 

In both the cooperation and conflict versions of the soundwalk a decision was made to aim for a Vision Zero in Sweden, meaning that no one should perish as a result of the climate. Today, Sweden already has several Vision Zeros, the first and most famous one being that no one should die or be severely hurt in traffic. Climate change can affect people’s lives and health in different ways. In the soundwalk, we focus on how climate change leads to sea-level rise and an increased frequency in extreme weather events such as storms or powerful downpours. During these events, floods can threaten people’s life and health. Even if drowning is often a cause of death during floods, people can also perish because of frostbite since they get cold after getting wet. Climate change also leads to increased extreme temperatures and can thus cause more heat-related deaths, something which will become more and more common in cities. In addition, the burning of fossil fuels which cause climate change also has an effect on people’s health since they lead to air pollution. Air pollution also becomes worse in a drier, hotter climate, and can lead to heart-disease, respiratory issues, asthma and pre-mature death.  

Preparedness and civil defence

Society’s vulnerability to climate change is affected by how well prepared we are for what consequences might follow and how they should be handled once a serious event occurs. The idea behind civil preparedness is to increase this awareness and make sure that civilians are prepared and know what to do in case a powerful storm blows in and causes massive flooding. Civil preparedness is about being prepared on both a practical and a mental level. As a civilian, one should be aware of both what might happen during a storm and have practiced how to act once it actually occurs. It could also mean that local civilians have formed groups that provide assistance if authorities or emergency services cannot intervene or have a hard time getting through. Civil preparedness is a link in the greater societal preparedness for crises, wars or conflicts. In this broader preparedness or defence services it is also included that the function of government and government authorities should be operational even under periods of high stress. In a climate adaptation context, an example of this might be to make sure that there are enough movable pump systems to be able to handle two or more serious floods occurring simultaneously, as well as making sure that they are spread out so that they are always easily available for usage in an emergency.  

Terms and concepts


Climate neutrality

“That’s when they decided they needed to stop being so dependent on fossil fuels –and they had to make the change fast. It took twenty-five years, but since then our carbon dioxide emissions in Europe have been well within parameters so that nature and technology can take care of it all.” 

Climate neutrality means that the effect of a process, product or phenomenon on the environment has reached net zero, which is to say that it has reached a balance between emissions and uptake of greenhouse gases. Sweden has set a goal of being climate neutral before the year 2045. Being climate neutral means that just as much emissions are captured as are released, either through natural processes or technology. This can be accomplished in several ways, for example through so-called climate compensation. However, only climate compensation projects that capture greenhouse gases for a long period of time can be used in a climate neutral process.

Relocation support and home insurance

“You can see the other houses around here. That was when they started to fall apart. And the insurance companies stopped paying for damage to houses that weren’t climate-proofed.” 

Insurance companies decide on a price for an insurance depending on how likely or unlikely it is that a certain event might occur; the greater the likelihood of an event happening, the greater the cost to insure oneself against it. As the consequences of climate change grow more apparent and events such as intensive storms or floods happen more often the insurance companies will start being less motivated to insure people, buildings and objects that find themselves in the risk zone for these things. A clear example of this is people who own houses in coastal areas. When the insurance companies stop insuring these buildings because of the ever-encroaching sea and more frequent floods the cost for the homeowners will increase, either because the insurances become more expensive or because they have to pay for eventual flood damage themselves. Already back in 2018 the insurance company Länsförsäkringar told the owner of a building plot in Kristianstad that they could not ensure that area because of the great risk of flooding. Some insurance companies are open to insuring a coastal-adjacent house, however, they will only do so if the owner has taken climate adaptive measures to a great enough extent. Examples of such measures could be the installation of a pump system in the basement or the laying down of non-asphalt-based surfaces around the house which can help soak up rainwater.  

Read more about insurances in relation to climate adaptation by clicking here (In Swedish). 


“This is a closed cultivation system, similar to an ecosystem. Absolutely amazing. There are fish at the bottom. Their feces are filtered and turned into fertilizer for the vegetables we grow on top. And the water just goes around and around and very rarely needs to be replaced.”

Aquaponics is a closed cultivation system which combines the cultivation of water-living organisms such as fish, shellfish, and algae with hydroponic cultivation (that is, plants being grown directly in water without any soil, who also receive all their nutrients from the water they are planted in). In traditional cultivation of water-living organisms the water has to be frequently replaced, since the faeces of the animals eventually lead to it becoming toxic. In an aquaponics system the faeces-filled water is instead filtered out and broken down by nitrogen-fixing bacteria. The water is then transported over to the plants, whose roots absorb all the nutrients, which provide them with all the nourishment they need to grow. After the faeces have been broken down and the nutrients absorbed by the plants the water is clean again and can then be sent back to the tank with the water-living organisms. In this way, the aquaponics system creates a circular cultivation system that resembles a miniature ecosystem.

Read more about aquaponics and other land-based water systems by clicking here (In Swedish). For more advanced reading on aquaponics, click here to read a scientific article (In English).  


Flommen is a low and flat area to the west of Skanör-Falsterbo. Tall grass and low-growing bushes grow there. The area is named after the small lagoons that can be found throughout, and which are formally known as “flommar”. Throughout history, Flommen has been reshaped by erosion from water and wind, and continues to be so to this day. Historically, it was used as a grazing area for animals, but the area has also been used as a golf course during the early 20th century. It is registered both as a nature reserve and as a Natura 2000-area, because it features a valuable and unique plant and animal life. It is considered one of Sweden’s best stopping locations for migrating birds. Many of the plants are dependent on the area being actively grazed, something which happens still to this day. Among the flora unusual species such as thorn chervil, tubular water-dropwort, and blue iris can be found, while the fauna is characterized by its abundant frog and toad population. One of Flommen’s characteristic bird species is the pied avocet, which has become something of a symbol for the area.

If you want to read a short overview of Flommen, click here (In Swedish). If you want to read more about Flommen and other nature preservation programmes in Vellinge, click here (In Swedish). 


“Long, bright green leaves that used to grow in huge meadows on the seabed –full of fish and fry, molluscs, and shrimps. An eelgrass meadow can be made up of a single plant that’s several hundred years old! They’re vital to our entire ecosystem, and all that summer of 2030 I snorkelled around the headland and explored the eelgrass meadows there.”

Eelgrass is an underwater plant which is also known as seawrack. Despite this name, it is actually not a proper form of wrack. It is one of the most important Swedish underwater plants since it can spread out to form large meadows along the coastlines, which provide shelter and food to both fish and invertebrates. The plant also helps stabilize the sea floor and protect it against erosion. Because of this, it is an important part in the climate adaptation of coastal areas. The greatest threat against eelgrass is overfertilization, which means that fertilizer containing large amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus is released into the sea. This results in plankton and small algae increasing in number, which in turn makes it harder for the eelgrass to absorb light. Increased construction in and around coastal areas can also prove harmful to the eelgrass since it muddies the water. This hinders the plant’s possibility to spread out into large meadows.

Click here if you want to read more about eelgrass (In Swedish). The County Administrative Board did an inventory of eelgrass in Skåne in 2016 (In Swedish). 

Get in touch

Johannes Stripple, Department of Political Science
johannes [dot] stripple [at] svet [dot] lu [dot] se

Ludwig Bengtsson Sonesson, Department of Political Science
ludwig [dot] bengtsson_sonesson [at] svet [dot] lu [dot] se

Fredrik Pålsson, Umami Produktion/Hi-Story
fredrik [at] umamiproduktion [dot] se