The phenomenon of climate change and its impacts are global in scope and unprecedented in scale. Climate change is not merely a question of natural processes, but of economy, society, and culture. The changing weather patterns can severely disrupt social and environmental conditions which in turn impacts on human interactions with the environment and the sustainability of natural and socio-cultural systems. It affects processes of migration, urbanization and the modernization of societies. This means that it would be presumptuous to assume that all the effects of climate change on the tangible, intangible, cultural and natural heritage of people and their societies are fully understood. There is scope for reflection on the loss of cultural diversity and traditional knowledge, the endangerment of biodiversity and ecosystems and the consequences of climate related disasters in small and big cities. Climate change brings physical threats to tangible heritage sites through damages caused by sea level rise, flooding, temperature changes and soil erosion as well as glacier retreats and mass bleaching of coral reefs. The future sustainability of the heritage landscape requires a dynamic approach to climate change resilience, mitigation and adaptation policies.
Dr. Claire Cave, University of Dublin
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