Winter is coming. Will Swedes become climate refugees in the next millennium?

Winter is coming. Will Swedes become climate refugees in the next millennium? 1Our current geological epoch is called the Holocene, and it began about 11,700 years ago. The Holocene is an interglacial, i.e. a warm period between the ice ages. The epoch has already reached its maximum extent, which occurred sometime during the Bronze Age, and now it will gradually get colder, until the ice sheet once again covers the North and Germany all the way down to Switzerland. Of course, this will take thousands of years, but the gradual cooling will probably be felt over the next millennium. Maybe in a few hundred years? Or even sooner?

It’s hard to say how an ice age will come about, and exactly how fast. We can probably expect periods of cold and warmth to alternate, but the long-term trend is towards a colder climate.

Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will not have a major impact, because the tilt of the Earth’s axis and its distance from the Sun are by far the strongest drivers of the Earth’s climate changes. The overall picture is that our warm period is coming to an end, and that a major cooling is just around the corner.

So what should the people of the North do? Should we prepare for a colder climate now, or even move to warmer latitudes?

Most people are aware that these are very difficult questions; how do you move millions of people to more southerly countries? Can the Swedish nation even continue to exist under these conditions?

People often hide behind the argument that it will take many thousands of years before we are affected. The problem is postponed to the future, and it is hoped that the problem will resolve itself organically, that people will move slowly over many years, and it will happen naturally. The issue often ends up in so-called foil hate discussions and conspiracy theories. Most people don’t even want to think about it. The coming cooling is not part of the general social debate.

Sweden has existed as a nation for just under 1000 years, and the country has a history and mythology that goes beyond that. Some other countries such as Greece, Persia and India have even longer histories. Perhaps 1000 years is not such a long time?

Winter is coming. Will Swedes become climate refugees in the next millennium? 2

Of course, the cooling will be more noticeable in a country that already has a cold climate. Life in northern Sweden has always been limited by the changing seasons, so how will its inhabitants cope with even colder and more prolonged winters? How long will it be before it becomes impossible to live in the north, and the climate in Stockholm resembles that of Kiruna today?

There are, of course, different ways of looking at this problem, one of which we have already discussed, that of letting time take its course and assuming that people move slowly and organically over the centuries. In this scenario, there is a great risk that Swedes will assimilate into other cultures and slowly cease to exist as a distinct people.

To be sure of retaining the people and national distinctiveness (if there is an interest in this), preparations should be made now for a more organised migration. It is about securing a territory where the Swedish language and culture can continue to develop without being absorbed by any other cultural sphere. Compare with the American Swedes in Minnesota where Swedish-language newspapers stopped being distributed in the early 20th century, slowly the language was forgotten. And they became part of the majority culture, where only the accent and a few celebrations hint that another culture had populated the place before.

To maintain Swedishness, a new Swedish country is needed, not just a randomly selected safe haven to flee to. Perhaps the creation of a Swedish colony would be uplifting and enriching for many Swedes? A great adventure and life project that lifts our eyes from everyday problems and boredom. Something that could unite at least parts of the nation.

In practical terms, the state or private individuals buy land in warmer regions. The easiest way would be to buy undeveloped steppe or desert land, which at present should be cheap, but which will become increasingly attractive and fertile in the coming millennium. A free state with modern infrastructure is being developed in the area, along with regulations and a tax model that encourages Swedish immigration.

Putting the plan into action will, of course, require charismatic leaders and, above all, investors, something that should not be in short supply in one of the world’s richest countries. Perhaps such a project could attract more than the traditional investment portfolios? A unique opportunity to make a historic mark, and become one of the founding fathers of the new country.