The Unbearable Lightness of Cultural Resources: An Adaptation Story with Dr. Marcy Rockman

In episode 88 of America Adapts, host Doug Parsons interviews Dr. Marcy Rockman, cultural resource and climate adaptation expert. Marcy, until recently, was the Cultural Resources Adaptation Coordinator for the National Park Service and is now the IPCC Team Lead with the International Council on Monuments and Sites Climate Change and Heritage Working Group. Marcy and I discuss her time at the Park Service, developing the first of its kind cultural resource and climate change white paper. We also talk about how climate change will impact historic sites and how it’s a threat multiplier.  Marcy also discusses the tension at the Park Service between natural resources and cultural resources which ultimately led to her leaving the NPS. Hear about these issues and much more!

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Other Topics covered:

  • Is time more important than resources?

  • When do historic sites stop making history?

  • Climate change is a threat multiplier for cultural history.

  • Has the NPS ever let a park or resource ‘go’ due to climate change?

  • Some historic sites are ‘frozen in time’ but climate change may allow them to start making history again.

  • Should we let Ft. Jefferson in Florida fall apart into the sea?

  • Tension at NPS on natural resources versus historic preservation.

  • Natural resource parks and cultural resources parks are sometimes treated in a gender oriented way. Nat resources the masculine, cultural the more feminine.

  • History of the cultural resources memo at NPS and what went into it.

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