The effects of climate change on our cultural heritage will be – if they aren’t already – a very real crisis.
Therefore, one of the four tracks at the PastForward
conference in Savannah this fall, titled “preservationCRISIS,” will focus on climate change. Presenters at the Learning Labs and the Power Sessions will discuss indirect and direct threats of climate change on our cultural heritage; share case studies about communities that are already dealing with the impacts of climate change; and outline policies and strategies for adapting to climate change in order to sustain and build resilient cities. The Trust Live on Friday, November 14, will present a global perspective on the impact of climate change to places that matter to us. In addition, the National Park Service (NPS), which is sponsoring Friday’s event, will present its climate change planning framework, and representatives from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) will discuss how rising sea levels, extreme drought, and severe storms have already put some of our cultural resources at risk. In addition, a Preservation Leadership Training full day workshop, "Planning for Change: Disaster Preparedness for Preservation", which is being presented in partnership with the NPS, will take place on Wednesday, November 13.
Just as with preservationVENTURE
, we are offering a preservationCRISIS reading list before you come to Savannah:
Mark Huppert’s post, “In Deep Water: Three Ways to Save Historic Places from Climate Threats
,” offers three important strategies on to how to prevent the loss of historic resources that may be affected by climate change.
A report by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), “National Landmarks at Risk: How Rising Seas, Floods, and Wildfires Are Threatening the United States’ Most Cherished Historic Sites
,” highlights the effects of climate change on cultural and historic resources in our country. The report looks at 30 at-risk locations, such as Bandelier National Monument, where wildfires and flash floods threaten archaeological resources, historic East Coast cities from Boston to St. Augustine at risk from rising sea levels, and the important Hawaiian cultural resources at Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, which are facing erosion and even submersion. UCS’s director of Climate Impacts, Adam Markham, has written a blog on the report that can be read here
, and a slide-show showcasing the sites discussed in the report can be accessed here
. Brenda Ekwurzel, Ph.D. Senior Climate Scientist Climate and Energy Program will be discussing implications and next steps of the UCS report at the TrustLive presentation on Friday, November 14.
| The Enchanted Valley Chalet (1931, NR), within Olympic National Park’s
Congressionally-designated Wilderness Area, is endangered by the
shifting East Fork of the Quinault River due to last year’s strong
storms, and will be relocated 50-100 feet from the riverbank before the
fall rain season begins. 2016 Update: The relocation of the Enchanted Valley Chalet was completed in September 2014. Timelapse video of the move available for viewing at https://flic.kr/p/oX8ZWP | Photo Courtesy of the Washington Trust for
The National Park Service has been working with its partners, including the National Trust, on expanding its climate change response strategy to address historic preservation planning. Check out these three NPS webinars: “Climate Science, Climate Change, and Cultural Resources
,” “Climate Adaptation, Landscape Resilience, and Cultural Resources Management
” and “Setting Priorities and Making Decisions for Preserving Coastal Heritage
. More information can also be found in the recent NPS report Preserving Coastal Heritage Summary Report
. Another NPS webinar, “Impacts of Sea Level Rise on National Parks
” by Rebecca Beavers and Courtney Schupp, expands on a September 2013 article “Planning for the impact of sea-level rise on U.S. national parks
” by Maria Caffrey and Rebecca Beavers. The NPS will discuss the agency-wide efforts in the session "Preservation in a Changing Environment: a Framework for Cultural Resource Management" on Friday, November 14.
Ann Horowitz, an urban planner with the City of Alexandria, will speak at the “Innovative Approaches to Climate Change” Learning Lab. In her master thesis, “The Effects of Sea Level Rise on Historic Districts and The Need for Adaptation,” she examines the impacts of sea level rise on National Register historic districts along the Atlantic Coast and evaluates current adaptation plans to protect those resources. Access her thesis here
According to the study, “Loss of cultural world heritage and currently inhabited places to sea-level rise
” by Ben Marzeion from the University of Innsbruck and Anders Levermann from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, nearly 140 of the 700 current UNESCO World Heritage Sites will likely be completely flooded if global warming continues at its current rate. Adam Vaughan, editor of the Guardian environmental desk, analyzes
the report and notes that it “does not take into account temporary rises in sea levels caused by storm surges.”
Laura Tam, the Sustainable Development Policy director of the San Francisco Planning & Urban Research Association (SPUR), looks at strategies to manage rising sea levels in her article “Strategies for Managing Sea Level Rise
.” In his May 2014 article “How Cities Can Prepare for Rising Sea Levels
,” Drew Reed suggests three areas on which cities can focus – adding green space to absorb storm water, focus on ports in developing strategies to block rising waters, and identify at-risk areas and plan for the future with stakeholders. In Next City’s “Massive New Storm-Protection Barrier Funded for Lower Manhattan
,” Graham T. Beck highlights the winning projects of the HUD Rebuild by Design competition, especially “Big U” a 10-mile protective barrier for soon be constructed along Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
From the Preservation Leadership Forum Blog
Forum Journal & Forum News
Here are several additional reports, articles and other resources for those interested in the impacts of climate change:
- A Preservation Response to Global Warming: Jumping on the Bandwagon or Leading our own Parade? By Anthony Veerkamp (Forum Journal, Volume 23, Number 1, Fall 2008)
- Historic Preservation’s Essential Role in Fighting Climate Change By Richard Moe (Forum News, Volume 14, Number 4, March/April 2008)
- Saving the Heritage of the Gulf Coast: Preservation as a Key to Hurricane Recovery By Richard Moe (Forum News, Volume 12, Number 3, January/February 2006)
- The National Park Service and Its Partners Taking Action in the Gulf Coast and Around the County By Fran P. Mainella (Forum Journal, Volume 20, Number 2, Winter 2006)
#ClimateChange #PastForward #Sustainability #Savannah2014
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
- National Climate Assessment
- Surging Seas
- Nation Under Siege: Sea Level Rise at Our Doorstep, Architecture 2030
- Science Confirms (Again) What Cities Already Know: Climate Change is Happening Now, by Carolyn Berndt, CitiesSpeak.org, May 7, 2014.
- "How to Communicate the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change: Plain Facts, Pie Charts or Metaphors?" Sander van der Linden, Anthony Leiserowitz, Geoffrey Feinberg and Edward W. Maibach, Climatic Change Journal, July 2014.
- The U.S. Cities With the Worst Climate Change-Related Flooding, by John Metcalfe, The Atlantic CityLab, July 24, 2014
- After Sandy: Advancing Strategies for Long-Term Resilience and Adaptability (Urban Land Institute)
- White Paper: Resilience Strategies for Communities at Risk (Urban Land Institute)
- Lessons from Sandy (Policy Focus Report) (Lincoln Institute of Land Policy)
- Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy: Stronger Communities, A Resilient Region (The Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force)