Perstorp proper looks at first glance like pretty much any other small Skånian town… but out in the land to the south, things look very different. As you draw near to a little lake, you might catch the smell of grilled fish and a spicy apple sauce, and see a raft awaiting you at the shoreline…
Climate change has led to many losses—of life, property, culture, and livelihoods. The making of a direct link between historical emissions and contemporary loss was assiduously avoided by the nations and firms of the Global North, to the extent that a liability waiver was written into the Paris Agreement, which barred nations from seeking compensation for losses and damages caused by climate change.
Direct compensation was diplomatically improbable, so advocates focused on enabling the planned relocation of communities whose homes were threatened. The Funafuti protocol of 2038 was the result of a decade of negotiations—a legal text stipulating that countries with high historical emissions designate suitable relocation sites for communities obliged to resettle. The intention was that the new sites should resemble their original territory as closely as possible, but—given the North-South divide in historical responsibility—compromises had to be made.
Which brings us to Perstorp.
The home of plastic production in Sweden, the town had accrued a large carbon debt, while also dealing with a population decrease through the early decades of this century. This, the Swedish government concluded, made it a fitting location for its new climate resettlement program.
Conveniently enough—or all too conveniently, if you ask a golfer—the Golf Course Rewilding Act had just been passed in parliament, with the result that there was a large lake-side property up for sale which previously housed the local golf club. The first contingent of Tuvaluans arrived in 2041, and thus started what we now know as the semi-autonomous enclave Mya Tuvalu.
There is plenty to experience at the delightful and welcoming New Tuvalu:
- Participate in the weekly canoe race around fōliki namo/Lille Sjö. (You will come last, but the fun comes from taking part.)
- Learn some new dance moves to impress your partner(s) at Bosarp cultural center. The newcomers have developed a mix of polka and fakanau, a traditional Tuvaluian dance that is surprisingly alluring!
- Try New Tuvalu’s famous Grilled Gull! Traditional Tuvaluan cuisine used what was available on the island, and seabirds form the basis of several traditional dishes. In adapting to the new landscape, the residents identified the large populations of gulls in some coastal towns as the most apt replacement. (Some of those towns, Malmö in particular, were very glad to get rid of a few.) Perhaps surprisingly, the dish is quite spectacular.
However, a warning:
- Don’t go fishing (unless you’re invited to do so by locals)! The Perstorp kommun fishing quota system is very complex, the assigned areas are strictly policed, and fines for breach are enormous. There is also an ongoing and rancorous legal dispute over cultural fishing rights between Nya Tuvalu and Perstorp; some Perstorpare claim that Tuvaluans have “come and stolen their fish”. Trust us when we say that you do not want to get involved in this factional mess.