America's Eroding Edges

America's Eroding Edges

In partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation

Climate change is an American story.

The edges of our country are eroding. From Alaska to Louisiana, centuries of culture, tangible history, and dynamic communities are being battered by stronger storms and sea level rise—raising difficult questions about adaptation, relocation, and what it means to be an American experiencing climate change today.

To connect the shared experiences of Americans facing these dramatic transformations, the National Trust has partnered with Victoria Herrmann, a National Geographic Explorer, as she travels around the U.S. and its territories interviewing communities directly affected by shoreline erosion and climate change.

Over the next year, America’s Eroding Edges will help you explore the challenges of all those facing the impacts of climate change on their homes, livelihoods, and cultures. Join us on this journey as we discover the breadth and depth of what stands to be lost in America—and what we as a nation can do about it.

Victoria Herrmann headshot

Meet the Team

Victoria Herrmann is the lead researcher for America's Eroding Edges. Victoria is the President and Managing Director of the Arctic Institute, where she leads the Institute's research on climate change and community adaptation in Arctic communities. In 2016, Victoria is co-convening an international working group on cultural heritage and climate relocation as part of the Pocantico Call to Action. She has previously worked with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the United Nations, the US State Department, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Eli Keene is a research associate for America's Eroding Edges. He has previously worked with the OECD, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and the Regional Environmental Center on issues of law, development, and natural resources in transitioning countries.

Alaska: Self-Preservation

Battered by environmental crises, Shishmaref, Alaska, has voted to relocate. But the act to protect the future community threatens its present. Read this and other stories from the latest Eroding Edges series on climate change in Alaska.

Preservation Leadership Forum: Climate Change in Context

In interviews for the America’s Eroding Edges project, Victoria Herrmann's first question for coastal residents is always, “What is the biggest problem facing your community today?” Climate change does not exist in a vacuum—it affects communities in tandem with other challenges and opportunities.

Local Partners

The America's Eroding Edges project, which is partially funded by National Geographic, is committed to an inclusive research approach. We work with local photographers, filmmakers, audio professionals, nonprofit organizations, academic researchers, and community leaders to share America's climate story and move policy discussions forward. If you are interested in partnering with the project, please get in touch at ErodingEdges@savingplaces.org.

American Samoa

  • Nerelle Que is an independent contributing photographer from American Samoa.
  • Gabrielle Fa'ai'uaso is an independent contributing filmmaker from American Samoa.
  • Micah van der Ryn is a professor at the American Samoa Community College researching intangible heritage, community, and natural resources. He is a local advisor to this work.

Alaska

  • Josie Holtzman is a multimedia producer and contributing writer and audio producer for America's Eroding Edges.
  • Isaac Kestenbaum is a multimedia artist and contributing writer and audio producer for America's Eroding Edges.

Support for America's Eroding Edges

America's Eroding Edges is partially funded by National Geographic's Science and Exploration Committee. Their funds are helping us explore climate change, culture, and community in Alaska, American Samoa, and Guam. But that's only part of the American story, because no matter how much we decrease carbon emission, 414 towns and cities in the United States will eventually be under water.

With your support, we can work with local partners from even more coastal communities along the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf Coasts—Louisiana, the Sea Islands of South Carolina, Texas, and Washington state, to name a few—to explore the damaging effects of climate change and shoreline erosion on cultural heritage in continental America today and to inspire our nation to act.

Help us do more. Get in touch at ErodingEdges@savingplaces.org to start the conversation.

Climate change threatens centuries of culture, tradition, and tangible history. What can we do to stem the tide?

Read More