preservationCRISIS: A Climate Change Reading List

Posted on: August 26th, 2014 by Preservation Leadership Forum Staff 1 Comment

PastForward_LOGO_RGBThe 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. | Photo Courtesy of the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.

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. | Photo Courtesy of the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.

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 Members Only

Here are several additional reports, articles and other resources for those interested in the impacts of climate change:

National Preservation Conference, Sustainability

One Response

  1. preservationCRISIS: A Climate Change Reading List - World Heritage Ohio

    August 26, 2014

    […] 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 …read more […]