From November 30 to December 11, world leaders and scientists will meet in Paris in the hopes of negotiating an international accord to reduce carbon emissions and respond to the imminent threats of climate change. As we move closer to this United National Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) in the coming week, I believe that we are on the precipice of changing the conversation about climate change. Archivists can play a role in elevating the conversation and increasing climate literacy by using our collections to improve public awareness of climate change through exhibits and social media. We’re making commitments now a future for our planet. As the guardians of cultural heritage, let’s not only work to ensure the preservation of our collections from the impacts of climate change, but let’s take that responsibility further by providing better access and discoverability to our collections that could be used to educate our communities on the urgency for action on climate change.
ProjectARCC would like to challenge archives to use the hashtag #PreserveClimate during COP21, which is taking place from November 30 – December 11, and promote your collections that are relevant to the conversation about climate change.
In addition, we ask that you help us identify archival collections related to climate change by filling out this survey: https://projectarcc.org/elevate/survey-elevate/.
Once we have compiled this survey, we will use the information to create a database and visualizations that identify these collections and where they exist, which can be used as a resource for scholars, researchers, scientists, journalists, and the general public.
We encourage you to take the challenge and #preserveclimate during COP21. If you’re wondering what types of materials are relevant to the issue of climate change, here are a few suggestions:
- materials documenting natural disasters
- dated historic photographs of landscapes and agriculture
- records of climate change or environmental activist groups
- scientific data sets for climate change research
- government records about local, regional, or national response to climate change
- manuscript collections documenting how people feel or felt about climate change
- papers of climate scientists
- recorded lectures, interviews, and debates about climate change
— Casey Davis
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