Report: climate change puts U.S. monuments and landmarks at risk

Alaska's Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, where the effects of climate change are damaging cultural heritage sites and displacing artifacts. 

Credit: Neil Herbert (NPS Alaska), flickr.

A new report predicts climate change may submerge or severely damage some of America’s most iconic landmarks, from Faneuil Hall to portions of Everglades National Park.

According to new analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists, notable historic, cultural and natural sites around the country could be damaged or displaced by the effects of sea level rise, coastal erosion, flooding, heavy rain and more intense wildfires.

See a slideshow of some of the places now in climate change’s crosshairs:

“Just as the people responsible for maintaining parks, monuments, and landmarks are planning ahead, so can local communities,” the report concluded. “Reducing carbon pollution by burning fewer fossil fuels will give us more time to prepare and adapt, while possibly preventing the worst aspects of climate change.”

In Alaska, deteriorating permafrost is already damaging cultural heritage sites in the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, while coastal erosion is displacing indigenous Alaskan artifacts.  In Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands, part of which overlaps with Everglades National Park one-of-a-kind prehistoric shell structures could disappear forever.

Among other sites at risk: Boston’s Faneuil Hall, an icon of America’s march toward independence ; the Statue of Liberty; and NASA sites like Florida’s Kennedy Space Center and Virginia’s Langley Research Center. Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument, designated by President Barack Obama in Maryland in 2013, may be submerged by the end of the century.

Read the full report

Find out how climate change is hurting wildlands and wildlife