A Dampening Effect on U.S. History

by Dave Hampton

Damage to Liberty Island following Hurricane Sandy. Image source: National Park Service/Daly. By permission of Union of Concerned Scientists.

Damage to Liberty Island following Hurricane Sandy. Image source: National Park Service/Daly. By permission of Union of Concerned Scientists.

American icons the Statue of Liberty, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, and both NASA’s Johnson and Kennedy Space Centers are threatened by sea level rise, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists’ May 2014 report “National Landmarks 

at Risk: How Rising Seas, Floods, and Wildfires Are Threatening the United States’ Most Cherished Historic Sites”.

Other notable places which make the list of threatened heritage sites are St. Augustine, the oldest city in America; the city of Charleston, SC, and NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center & Michoud Assembly Facility, where “areas along the coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi near Stennis and Michoud are experiencing sea level rise up to five times the global average because while the seas are rising, the land is also subsiding.”

The report manages to balance climate science, link historic preservation with climate change mitigation and adaptation, within a (possibly unintentionally) moving narrative of our nation’s relationship with history, emigration, and shaping of our environment.

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