Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Cultural Losses

Never having any issues on what to write for my blog entries, I finally got one! I sat down and thought long and hard about what to write, but whenever I started to write about a topic, I would always stop in the middle and delete whatever I had written. So, after deleting about 3 blog entries, I finally decided to write about "Cultural Losses." At first I thought that this topic had absolutely nothing to do with global warming, yet as I was reading a book called, “The Atlas of Climate Change,” I realized it had plenty to do with global warming.

Climate change, whether we like it or not, is threatening parts of the world’s cultural and historical heritage. It’s not just about what is going on currently, but also about the past. For example, in 2002, flooding across Europe damaged concert halls, theatres, museums, and libraries, which led to a loss of half a million books (Dow and Downing 66).

There are many places that suffer a loss of built heritage and cultural landscapes, such as Boston, South Africa, Italy, Mt. Everest, Thailand, and Tuvalu. Let me first start by talking about Thailand. Due to severe flooding in northeastern Thailand, the 600-year-old ruins of Sukothai have been damaged, including the ruins of Ayutthaya (which was the capital from the 14th to 18th century). Venice, Italy has previously and is still experiencing frequent flooding, which has caused the damage of many buildings. For example, St. Mark’s Square actually floods about 50 times more each year than it did in the early 1900s. Thirdly, evacuations are taking place due to the rise of sea-levels in Tuvalu, which is an island nation. Moving on around the globe, Mt. Everest has almost lost its natural beauty since there is not as much snow as there used to be in 1953. The negative effect of this is that if Mt. Everest loses its natural beauty, there will be a decrease in the amount of tourists that come to visit every year. Excluding building and mountains, even National Parks are being affected due to climate change. For example, the West Coast National Park in South Africa actually had to move their fossils of the oldest human footprints (estimated to have been made 117,000 years ago) in order for them to be safe. Lastly, sea-levels and coastal storms could increase the height of flooding on the Charles River and many famous historical sites (such as the Boston Garden) (Dow and Downing 67).

These are just some of the many places around the world that are being affected due to global warming. As it is said by Dow and Downing, “The potential for more frequent floods and more intense storms poses greater threats to cherished buildings, monuments, archaeological sites, and other material traces of history and heritage” (Dow and Downing 67).


Dow, Kirstin, and Thomas Downing. The Atlas of Climate Change.Berkeley and Los Angeles: Myriad Editions Limited,2006.

1 comment:

Julie P. said...

Even after stressing out about having a topic, you handle "cultural losses" gracefully and with plenty of strong details. Very nicely written!