At least 30 major historic sites in the United States are at risk of being damaged or destroyed by wildfires, floods, and rising seas that are attributable to human-induced climate change, according to a new report released on Tuesday by the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Here’s a map of the at-risk sites, which are located all over the country:
The threatened sites include the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York, NASA centres like the Johnson Space Center in Texas and Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado.
“The imminent risks to these sites and the artifacts they contain threaten to pull apart the quilt that tells the story of the nation’s heritage and history,” Adam Markham, the director of climate impacts at the union, said in a statement.
The scientists chose to highlight these 30 sites because of their importance to American history and “because the science behind the risks they face is robust,” according to the Union of Concerned Scientists’ website.
In some places, steps have already been taken to try and mitigate some of the damage. The 4,800 ton Cape Hatteras lighthouse in North Carolina, for example, has been uprooted and moved 3,000 feet inland. Sea levels along the North Carolina coast have risen up to four times faster than the national average over the past 20 years, according to the report. The number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes in the North Atlantic has doubled since 1970.
In other places, little has been done so far to protect these sites.
Jon Jarvis, the director of the National Park Service, is quoted in the report as saying: “I believe climate change is fundamentally the greatest threat to the integrity of our national parks that we have ever experienced.”
According to the union, this is meant to be a call to action. While many of the impacts of climate change are now considered unstoppable, the report’s authors say that reducing carbon pollution will mitigate some effects and give us more time to deal with others.
“Climate change is no longer a distant threat for others to worry about,” the report said. “The consequences are already under way.”
Below is a full list of the sites (you might want to check them out before they disappear forever):
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