Summer 2015 Forum Journal: High Water and High Stakes

By Forum Online posted 08-03-2015 12:37


00_29.4Cover_smallIt is time to pick up the tab.

Anthony Veerkamp, one of the contributors to the summer issue of the Forum Journal, is not talking about the bar tab. He is referring instead to the “climate change tab.” In his article, he talks about mitigation versus adaptation and urges preservationists to make sure that historic resources are included in efforts to adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.

Other contributors to this issue, High Water and High Stakes: Cultural Resources and Climate Change, which is now available to members of Preservation Leadership Forum, tally up the tab by addressing what the costs of climate change have been so far.

Patty Ferguson-Bohnee, a Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribal member, grew up in Louisiana. She writes poignantly about how her traditional tribal lands are now underwater and what this means for the cultural heritage of her tribe. Robert Melnick, FASLA, looks at cultural landscapes more broadly and notes how climate change has already altered many landscapes; the changes to these landscapes, he says, provide warning signs of what we can expect in the future.

Jenifer Eggleston and Jen Wellock, both with the National Park Service, put a dollar amount to the tab. And surprise, surprise, it won’t be cheap. They delve into current flood insurance policy and the implications of the proposed reforms now taking shape.

But we are not powerless, as John Englander, speaker at TrustLive in Savannah and author of High Tide on Main Street, points out in his article. In fact, he suggests that preservationists are uniquely equipped to deal with climate change. He says that common preservation practices--research, planning, and community engagement will help to set priorities and provide context as we address the impacts of rising seas.

Preservationists in Annapolis are being proactive in the face of rising sea levels. Lisa Craig, chief of historic preservation for the City of Annapolis, explains how this port city has undertaken a hazard mitigation planning effort, engaging a variety of shareholders. This effort, called “Weather It Together,” provides an invaluable roadmap for other cities grappling with frequent coastal flooding.

The articles in the summer journal are intended to spur additional discussion and action. One immediate step preservationists can take is to sign the “Call to Action,” a proclamation to raise public awareness of the urgent and growing threat to cultural heritage from climate change.

Wondering where your community fits into all of this discussion? You will want to check out the interactive Story Maps accompanying these articles. These interactive maps allow you to overlay the location of heritage resources and various data on climate change, such as coastal flooding, sea level rise, natural disaster occurrence and even FEMA’s flood insurance program data.

This issue is available for Preservation Leadership Forum members only. If you are a Forum member, you should have received an e-mail from us about accessing the journal. If you download this issue of the Forum Journal to your Kindle, Nook, Android or Apple device, the enhanced features are best viewed using the Adobe reader app.

Not a Forum member? Click here. Questions? E-mail

The issue is now available for the download here.

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