National landmarks at risk

From sea to rising sea, a remarkable number of the places where American history was made are already under threat. The geographic and cultural quilt that tells the American story is fraying at the edges—and even beginning to be pulled apart—by the impacts of climate change. This report is not a comprehensive analysis of climate change threats to all of the United States’ historic places, monuments and memorials, but rather a selection of case studies that vividly illustrate an urgent problem. These examples represent just a few of the many that could have been included, but the places they examine symbolize many of the rich and diverse elements of the American experience. The stories were chosen because the science behind the risks they face is robust, and because together they shine a spotlight on the different kinds of climate impacts already affecting the United States’ cultural heritage.

Credit: Debra Holtz Adam Markham Kate Cell
Brenda Ekwurzel, National Landmarks at Risk: How Rising Seas, Floods, and Wildfires Are Threatening the United States’ Most Cherished Historic Sites, 2014, Union of Concerned Scientists, 2014, Open Access publication