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ENGLISH – This September 20th, 2019 archivists around the world alongside young people and adults across the US and world held strikes for climate action. Throughout this day archivists also held Teach Ins focused on various topics of archival practices and the archivist’s relationship to climate change. These Teach Ins provided insights and serve as a launching point for future actions against climate change. By joining international efforts to raise awareness of climate change, archivists joined the global community to tell leaders across the world that we too demand climate action. Archivists along with others in the library, museum, and information community joined together to contribute to this multigenerational multidisciplinary climate movement. Read below about how this year’s strike paved the way for learning about how archives and archivists impact climate change and helped set the stage for a new era of just and equitable climate action.

The September 20, 2019 Global Climate Strike represents the beginning of a long series of conversations demanding quick and just climate actions. Consider joining the movement by reviewing the created modules or suggested readings available for download here.

Teaching Modules: http://bit.ly/2lUocZ6

Zotero Library: http://bit.ly/Archives4ClimateActionRead

SEPT. 20 EVENTBRITE PAGE (http://bit.ly/2ktyQGg) set up to show solidarity with archivists from around the world and communicated details the nearest Teach In in the area. Teach Ins were held in various locations. Page also includes individual event pages for each Teach In action.

SEPT. 20 VIRTUAL TWITTER TEACH IN
An ALL DAY Twitter Teach In that invited participants to talk archives, archivists, and climate change using the hashtag #Archivists4ClimateAction. Participants use this hashtag to talk in various languages, suggested articles, or posed and responded to questions related to the issue of Climate Change and archives.

As part of this online Teach In, participating archivists also briefly discussed the following article: “Dying Well In the Anthropocene: On the End of Archivists” by Samantha R. Winn


IN PERSON TEACH IN (these were the confirmed locations as of 9/19/19)

  • Austin, TX, U.S.A. 
    • Location: University of Texas Student Union Courtyard from 9 am to 12 pm
    • Event Link: http://bit.ly/2lWFncw
  • Melbourne, Australia
    • Location: Clyde Hotel (385 Cardigan St, Carlton) from 4 pm – 6 pm

This is a Project ARCC and Archivists Against History Repeating Itself sponsored action. Part of the Global Climate Strike 2019.

Share this page: bit.ly/archivistclimatestrike19

Download promotional materials (flyers/infosheets in multiple languages): http://bit.ly/2kAVU61

Hello allies!

I hope that you are all doing well and that you had a great Thanksgiving. It’s been a few months since our last update and since ProjectARCC (and I) went on hiatus for a while. It has been a busy few months (I got married), and as I am sure you agree, a disheartening past few weeks. But alas, the work must go on, now more than ever.

Eira Tansey and I spoke couple of weeks ago and are ready to re-boot ProjectARCC efforts, and we have ideas about how to restructure our goals and the scope of our work.

We think it is time to move away from the Committee structure. Though our efforts and projects were lofty and commendable, the Committees spread us thin. Instead of having multiple groups working on specific projects supported and organized by ProjectARCC, we want to make ProjectARCC more of an organizing space for archivists and interested allies (like journalists, scientists, and librarians) to come together, discuss climate change and its impact on our profession, and facilitate opportunities for archivists to find common ground and potential collaborations with others. To that end, we’re organizing monthly conference calls on the second Tuesday of each month. Eira will serve as the host and point of contact for the conference calls.

  1. Evenings on the even-numbered months at 7pm Eastern (December 13th will be the first of these)
  2. Daytime on the odd-numbered months at noon Eastern (January 10 will be the first of these)

We also want to keep the blog available and open for anyone to contribute to. We now have an open Google doc for people to sign up for blog posts. For now, I will take the lead on coordinating with writers who sign up and get posts uploaded to the website.

I’ve also unlocked the listserv so that anyone can join anytime without requiring a moderator to approve it (we should have done this long ago!). I am working on a standard template email that goes out to individuals after they join so that they are made aware of meeting times and ProjectARCC contacts.

So in short, for now, ProjectARCC will be less structured and project-focused and more of a space for individuals to 1) organize and discuss via conference calls and 2) share insights with the community via the blog and listserv.

The website has been updated to reflect our new strategy, and Eira and I would love to hear your opinion. We hope that you will still consider ProjectARCC in its new form a valuable community to be a part of. Please feel free to send a message to the listserv and let us know your thoughts.

It is so important that we continue organizing and taking action both collectively and independently. You’ve probably been following the news that the incoming administration has selected a climate denier to lead the EPA transition, and that the President-Elect himself has argued that the concept of climate change was created by the Chinese to make U.S. manufacturing noncompetitive. The progress that has been made over the past eight years is now at stake, and it’s imperative that we stay hopeful and stay active in the fight against climate change.

You may be wondering what you can do now. Right now, I encourage each of you to spread the word about ProjectARCC’s new strategy:

  • Share this announcement on social media or on your school or other listserv
  • Encourage your colleagues to get involved
  • Share your insights and thoughts by contributing a blog post
  • Plan to attend our next ProjectARCC meeting and encourage your colleagues to attend as well

Finally, stay informed on what’s happening in the presidential administration transition and don’t be afraid to contact your elected officials and ask them to oppose any efforts taken by the new administration to halt progress combating climate change and transitioning to a clean energy economy.

Thanks so much for your continued action and passion.

In solidarity,

Casey and Eira

Our tour of the coastal Point neighborhood in Newport, Rhode Island covered colonial history, architecture, and a recent neighborhood concern: flooding. Heavy rainfall and storm surges in Narragansett Bay flood the streets and the basements of houses, leading some homeowners to raise the foundations of their centuries-old homes.  As activists we focus on preventing climate change, but Keeping History Above Water, sponsored by the Newport Restoration Foundation from April 10-13, presented a disorienting idea: climate change has already happened, and sea level rise is a problem now.

Preservationists, scientists, architects, activists, documentarians, public sector workers, politicians, and others addressed sea level rise from a multitude of perspectives. Adam Markham highlighted the National Landmarks at Risk report created by the Union of Concerned Scientists in partnership with cultural organizations. Attendees from the Netherlands, Iran, Italy, and Kirabati as well as towns all over the United States shared the impacts of climate change on their homes and heritage. Project ARCC presented a poster and had excellent conversations with attendees, many of whom had not thought about the role of archives in preservation and scientific efforts. You can read more coverage of the conference by checking out our Storify or the #historyabovewater hashtag on Twitter and Instagram. (The NRF Instagram featured a great image of Rose viewing one of the displays!)

Project ARCC’s mission to protect collections fits into efforts to protect built, inhabited, and natural environments. Matthew Pelz of the Galveston Historical Foundation used historical photographs and maps to illustrate how Galveston’s landscape has changed, and how a culture once incredibly adaptable and accustomed to moving houses has become more permanent and therefore less resilient.  The example of Galveston raises some questions for archivists – how can we be more resilient in our actions, and how can we better document flexible communities?

Marcy Rockman, Climate Change Adaptation Coordinator for the National Parks Service, echoed Pelz’s inquiry of how people in the past dealt with environmental change. The NPS has taken a stand to “say the C word” in its planning and advocacy, publishing Using Scenarios to Explore Climate Change in 2013. Cultural heritage was not considered in major reports and frameworks regarding climate change risk until recently, but efforts such as the US/ICOMOS Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction have made strides to incorporate cultural heritage preservation into the global climate change agenda.

Archaeologist Tom Dawson spoke about his work with Scottish Coastal Heritage at Risk documenting, protecting, and even moving archaeological sites threatened by erosion caused by changing seas. Citizen science reports and 3D models are vital to SCHARP’s work. The variety of data that supports preservation projects are vast, and archivists have an opportunity to facilitate the access, preservation, and use of information by people doing this important work.

Preserving the narratives of climate change requires cultural sensitivity. Pam Rubinoff of the University of Rhode Island’s Coastal Resources Center presented an image depicting houses on arks, prompting an audience member to ask, “Whose culture gets to go on the ‘ark’ of preservation?” Documentarian Sara Penrhyn Jones addressed this concern in describing her interviews with people in the island nation of Kirabati, already suffering the effects of sea level rise. She argued for the adoption of the language of human rights when discussing climate change.

The development of climate change communication and narratives is key; open communication channels must develop between different geographies and disciplines. Keeping History Above Water showed us the vastness of the spectrum of work addressing climate change, and the need for archivists to support the information and communication needs of these efforts.

— Genna Duplisea & Rose Oliveira

We’re proud to announce that ProjectARCC member and Protect Committee Chair Eira Tansey recently published an open-access article in the journal Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy (SSPP). The article is titled Archival adaptation to climate change, and can be accessed online for free.

The latest issue for Winter 2015 includes another article featuring sustainability in libraries. Managing Editor of SSPP wrote in an introduction to these two articles that “[m]any LIS professionals understand that they have the unique advantage of addressing sustainability issues both from the physicality of the library and intellectually as information and knowledge managers. Climate change, a factual mediator of sustainability, can pose a major threat to both objectives.”

The article was written for a general non-archivist audience about how climate change will intersect with American archives, with a particular focus on the dangers posed to short and long-term continuity of operations. The article ends with a call for a broader research agenda on several issues.

 

Congratulations, Eira, and thank you for continuing the research in our field. Share with your friends, scholars, students, and researchers to keep the conversation moving.

— Dana Gerber-Margie, blog coordinator

This post was written by Heather Widener, communications director for the Virginia Association of Museums, who has been with the organization for 12 years. She can be reached at hwidener@vamuseums.org.

News headlines flare up now and again over the persistent and troubling issue of climate change. It is easy to feel that these predictions are “far off” or that we are helpless against the shifting realities of the world. Virginia Climate Fever: How Global Warming Will Transform our Cities, Shorelines, and Forests, written by Stephen P. Nash, brings these realities home for Virginians – particularly those who act as stewards of our historic and cultural landscapes.
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The Virginia Association of Museums (VAM) recently held its annual conference in Williamsburg, Virginia. One of our most popular conferences, this year’s event drew over 450 museum professionals and service providers from around the Commonwealth and beyond. One of the conference’s exciting draws was Nash, our keynote speaker. Nash is a journalist and the Visiting Senior Research Scholar in the Journalism Department at the University of Richmond and author of Virginia Climate Fever. During the keynote speech, Nash discussed potential impacts of climate change on Virginia’s coastal historic, cultural, and archaeological sites.

Says Lisa Martin, senior program director at Reynolds Homestead, “Global warming has always been a concern for me, but I’ve always thought of it in terms of how it might impact the natural history of our nation and world. Stephen Nash brought home with urgency the cultural impact that climate change will have on our museums, historical sites, and archaeological digs. To imagine the history that could be lost with nearly 200 sites in Virginia alone being affected really makes the issue of environmental change a topline concern for those of us who work in these fields. His presentation was impactful, pertinent, and engaging.”

Combining nearly 30 years of scientific research with data from the Department of Historic Preservation and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Nash’s presentation addressed climate trends, physical strategies for adapting to sea level rise, and advocacy to keep Virginia’s historic resources at the forefront of our state’s climate policy.

“Climate change is already upon us but we still have time to work out good plans in the face of it, and avoid making the worst of it. We have responsibilities to each other, to the natural systems we depend on, and to Virginia’s landscape, one of surpassing richness and beauty.” – Stephen P. Nash, Virginia Climate Fever

The Virginia Association of Museums (VAM) is a statewide network serving the museum community. VAM has over 2,000 members, including individuals, businesses, and member organizations, ranging from historic houses to botanical gardens, aquariums, zoos, children’s museums, historical societies, art museums and galleries, battlefields, military museums, and more. Our vision is a united museum community inspiring the world around us. Learn more at www.vamuseums.org.

As part of Preservation Week programming, the Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York, Inc. (A.R.T.) and the Archives and Public History Program at New York University are co-sponsoring an event  to discuss how archival repositories can be pro-active in the fight against climate change, collections useful to climate change research, and successful sustainability efforts/resiliency measures.

The event “I’m Not A Scientist”: The Role and Responsibility of Archivists Towards Climate Change takes place on Friday, April 29, 2016 from 6 to 8pm at New York University’s Kimmel Center, Room 912. If you’re in NYC this Friday, register for the event to join the conversation.

For more information, visit the event page.

Hope to see you there!

ProjectARCC welcomes Linda Tadic, CEO of Digital Bedrock, on our first anniversary. A year ago today a group of archivists came together to discuss our profession’s future and the Earth’s future. Happy anniversary and happy Earth Day!

At the Paris Climate Change talks (COP21) in December 2015, 195 countries signed a non-binding agreement to lower their greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 2100. While the world celebrated the unanimous vote, and there is no denying the importance the conference had in raising the profile of climate change, it is clear that the agreement didn’t go far enough.

COP21’s goal: Get countries to promise to decrease their greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) so the global temperature won’t rise above 2° C (3.6° F) by 2100. That temperature increase is scientifically accepted as the threshold for catastrophic climate change. Prior to the conference, countries submitted the GHG emission levels they believed they could achieve (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, or INDCs). However, the INDCs are disappointing and outright deadly: if countries only achieve what they propose, the global temperature will rise 3.5° C (6.3° F) by 2100. A critical part of the agreement states that countries will aim to lower their GHG emissions lower than their INDC, but those are just words with no actionable steps behind them.

A minimum of 55 countries must sign the agreement on Earth Day 2016 for the agreement to become binding, and there is no guarantee the minimum signatures will be achieved. The US Supreme Court recently voted to put a stay on President Obama’s regulation of coal plants pending the results of a lower court ruling, which puts the US involvement in COP21 at risk. This decision caused large GHG emitting countries such as China and India to doubt the US seriousness to the Paris agreement; they had agreed to sign only if the US showed serious efforts.

Climate change is too serious an issue to be left to national governments to solve alone. Where positive change is occurring is with more nimble entities: local governments (states/provinces, cities), industry, individuals, and investors. Investors are increasingly not investing in oil and coal, but in renewable energy since that’s the future in this New Climate Economy. Aviation, transportation, and ICT industries are enacting technological efficiencies to decrease their industries’ GHG emissions.

Archives intersect with ICT through our use of hardware and energy. Our hardware and network choices in how we store and manage digital content, the energy devices used, and our digital preservation actions impact the environment.

In 2015, I gave a series of presentations on the environmental impact of digital preservation at conferences for SEAPAVAA (Singapore), IASA (Paris), and AMIA (Portland, Oregon). The slides and background research and notes are available for download at the Digital Bedrock website. The documents will be updated from time to time with the recent version date noted.

What we do as individuals and archival custodians can impact the wider world. In a talk at UCLA on January 12, 2016, Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and the UN Envoy for Climate Change, referred to “climate justice,” eg, climate change + social injustice. Fighting climate change is a personal, political, and social battle that must be fought on all fronts at our disposal, including the choices we make with our technology and preserving our collections.

— Linda Tadic

Questions? Comments? Email: ltadic@digitalbedrock.com