Almost 10 years ago, the Society of American Archivists met in New Orleans just weeks before Hurricane Katrina and the federal levee failure caused massive human and environmental loss to the Gulf Coast. In the aftermath of Katrina, many of the archives around Louisiana and Mississippi suffered enormous losses to their holdings. Since then, many archives and cultural heritage sites have either been directly affected by, or had close calls due to increased severe weather, rising sea levels, and wildfire risks. These environmental risks are almost certainly likely to increase according to 97% of climate scientists.
For some time, scientists have been the primary voices sounding the alarm over the widespread impacts of climate change. In 2014, 242 lead authors and 436 contributing authors published the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 5th Assessment Report, confirming that climate change is happening and is due to human influence, and that we will see irreversible, catastrophic effects within our lifetime if we do not reduce and eliminate carbon emissions by the middle of the 21st century.
As the world moves to the next rounds of climate talks in Paris at the end of 2015, new voices are entering the policy discussion. Two weeks ago, Pope Francis issued a moral call to action on climate change in his nearly 200 page papal encyclical. This reflects the increasing shift of the climate change conversation from a scientific and economic policy discussion, to that of a worldwide movement towards action motivated not just by scientific and economic factors, but by concern for international human rights and social justice.
As archivists, what is our role in the movement to fight climate change? How is climate change affecting our profession, and how can we act as agents for action within our communities? What actions will have an impact?
On July 8, 2015 at 1pm ET, ProjectARCC is hosting a live tweet-up to discuss the above questions with fellow archivists. We invite you to participate by using #preserveclimate and by following @projectARCC. And you don’t have to be an expert on climate change to attend and contribute! We welcome all archivists who are concerned about the impact of climate change on our profession and who are seeking ways to impact its effects and improve public awareness. In advance of the tweet-up, please feel free to send us questions or issues you’d like to discuss to firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Earth Day in 2015, a group of alarmed archivists founded ProjectARCC, a task force with a mission to motivate the archival community to affect climate change. We believe that as those responsible for the preservation of history for future generations, we should be as passionate and concerned about preserving a safe and habitable planet for ours and future generations.