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Back at Svenska Högarna – A fossil fuel tragedy

This island is an absolute favorite in the absolute outskirts of the Stockholm Archipelago. Sweden's most eastern island with islanders. One family is living there all year round, sharing the island with a military radar tower. And an iconic lighthouse from1874. All of them are powered by diesel generators.

Jana, a professional photographer joined in as a crew and we sailed out to check the status and do some documentation filming and photography. Both of us felt the smell of diesel emissions as we turned around the northern tip of the remote island. Post edit April 2nd, 2020: Svenska Högarna – Sweden's largest Marine Nature Reserv.

The glass lens in the lighthouse from 1874, is still in function. Design by GE Höijer.

I must admit I was sorry to see that "nothing" has happened out here since I windsurfed out to this island back in 2010. A sorrowful, broken wind generator was standing there back then. It is still there today. So are the two huge diesel generators and the two huge diesel tanks. I started a friendly activist campaign to demand funds for a new wind generator and battery bank. I was in touch with all authorities in charge, even the Swedish Armed Forces, and started a Facebook group. People joined and we were growing. But we stopped when the authority in charge agreed to take the necessary steps. They warned us of slow bureaucracy. We were asked to be patient... Now, eight years later the two diesel engines are still there pounding out their toxic emissions 24-7-52-12-365. In the middle of a sensitive nature reserve. The island is off-grid and authorities and the Swedish Armed Forces seemingly think that the only solution is to use fossil fuel generators to power the family, the military radar tower, and the lighthouse.

The house with the two generators, Jana, and the two diesel tanks. The red tower in the back is the broken wind generator.

The iconic lighthouse from 1874. Open to the public and cool to climb up into.

Having Jana onboard is always a pleasure, many of the images on this site have her name on them. Check out her work/web.

Searching for info about the island's story and who is in charge...

There are not many humans out here in mid-October...

...but it is the home all year for seals and seabirds and other species and sensitive vegetation. above and under the waterline. Photo Seals: Ingrid Nordemar. Photo Tobisgrisslor Mats Wilhelm.

2010 – a windsurfing trip turned into a climate project

Ok, this is the short story about the 2010 windsurfing trip that turned into a climate action project: With my old-school windsurfing board from the 1980-ies I went out for a week surfing in the archipelago. With a tent and camping stuff tied to the board. Well, out on Svenska Högarna I smelled heavy diesel emissions. I also saw the grey seals. I then spotted the rusty wind generator and learned about its sorrow story. The seed for the action campaign was planted. After I was promised by the authorities that they would get it fixed, I quit. The solution was a new wind generator, a battery bank, and the old generators as a backup, Then other things in my life took over. Read more in PDF in Swedish

Every drop of diesel that is burned out there is shipped the 40 Nautical Miles from Stockholm on diesel-powered ships. I was the first ever windsurfer out there according to the islanders:-)

Parts of the campaign presentation material.

The old-school board, the lighthouse, and my kids' cousin Clara, who sailed to the island with her parents.

Sleeping on the lighthouse balcony was a treat. Accompanied by the sun, the moon, and a friendly seagull.





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