Worldwide rising sea levels, soaring temperatures and increasing extreme weather events place cultural heritage on the front line of climate change.
The Climate Heritage Network, was launched in Scotland on Thursday the 24th of October. It will provide a platform for the heritage sector to unite to tackle climate change, one of the most significant and fastest-growing threats to global cultural heritage.
Ewan Hyslop, Head of Technical Research & Science at HES, and Co-Chair of the Climate Heritage Network Global Launch, said:
“We’re delighted that Scotland was chosen as the host nation for the global launch of the Climate Heritage Network, reflecting the country’s strong leadership on climate action.”
“Scotland has some of the most ambitious climate change targets in the world, and at HES we’re proud to play a lead role in supporting these through our innovative programmes of research, education and training.”
Iconic historic places – from archaeological and prehistoric sites, such as Skara Brae,Orkney, to coastal cities like Venice, Italy and Saint-Louis, Senegal – are extremely vulnerable to these impacts, which also put cultural collections, such as archives, artworks and artefacts, at risk. Intangible heritage, such as languages and oral traditions, also face a fight for survival as climate change threatens to displace communities.
Sea Wall at Skara Brae and the Erosion of the Coast
Fiona Hyslop,Culture Secretary in the Scottish Government said:
“The Climate Heritage Network is a sector coming together to take effective, collective action against climate change.”
“There is a significant role for everyone in society to support the change required to meet our ambitious new targets and this is exactly the type of global, connected response we need to see.”
“Scotland is well known throughout the world for its rich cultural heritage and we must protect our historic sites for future generations. I am proud to see Historic Environment Scotland leading the way and collaborating with partners across the globe.”
Andrew Potts of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), which is initially staffing the new network, said:
“Cultural heritage supports climate adaptation in a variety of ways, including learning from past social adaptability to environmental change and leveraging pride of place and social values to guide contemporary resilience planning.”