While attending the recent Past Forward Conference of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in San Francisco, there were quite a few sessions on Climate Change. Yes, Climate Change. Dr. Victoria Hermann, President of The Arctic Institute delivered a bone-chilling and compelling message about the urgency and need to be responsive to the fact that climate change is going to wreak havoc if we do not act now to mitigate its effects on our planet. So, in this second blog post on Necessary Alliances-why not engage a variety of organizations who really understand and care about the dynamics, as well as, the effects of climate change-work with the National Trust. Why would this alliance be really necessary? One reason is that meteorological organizations can truly educate the NTHP on the specifics of climate change and its impacts on the natural environent. But as savvy and aware preservationists, we all know that you cannot separate the natural environment from the built (and vice versa). In turn, the NTHP and related organizations can initiate and promote a dialogue with climate change experts on what can be done to protect and stablize our cherished heritage resources-whether it is a historic Civil War battlefield that could be ravaged by a tornado or cultural landscape in New England. These are necessary conversations that need to take place now We do not want to see these resources destroyed or damaged in any form. The time to do all we can regarding the potential impacts of climate change is NOW-pure and simple. Climate change is happening now and it will get worse over time, despite our best efforts to curtail it.
So, which organizations do we need to have a necessary alliance with? For starters-the American Meteorological Society (www.amersoc.org) whose mission “advances the atmospheric and related sciences, technologies, applications, and services for the benefits of society”. Others include:the American Geophysical Union (www.agu.org
) and the National Weather Service (www.weather.gov
) which falls under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US Department of Commerce.
If you are a preservationist-it might be tempting to state that :”Why should I care about cliimate change-I'm just interested in preserving that historic bridge? Or a climatologist who remarks: “I just care about floods and tornadoes”. Folks-once a human life is taken or a historic structure is demolished due to the ravages of climate change-destruction is destruction. If we are to be good stewards of the positive resources on Planet Earth-we must help each other now. NOW.
Michael H. Gelman