Consequences of global warming such as higher sea levels, more severe wildfires, and increasing floods are putting treasured landmarks at risk.
The landmarks at risk tell tales of the "first Americans," the rise and fall of slavery, and a numbers of modern "firsts" such as sending humans to the moon, a Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) news release reported. A new report outlined 30 high-risk site.
"You can almost trace the history of the United States through these sites," Adam Markham, director of climate impacts at UCS and report co-author, said in the news release. "The imminent risks to these sites and the artifacts they contain threaten to pull apart the quilt that tells the story of the nation's heritage and history."
The report suggested that Jamestown, the first English settlement, could be underwater by the end of the century.
"Fort Monroe in Virginia, which played a crucial role in the fall of slavery, will become an island unto itself within 70 years," Markham said. "Castillo de San Marcos, in St. Augustine, Florida, also is extremely vulnerable."
Rising oceans and natural disaster are also threatening Florida.
"Early Floridians constructed highly elaborate structures out of oyster and clam shells in the Ten Thousand Islands, dating back to 1,000 B.C.," Markham said. "The Everglades is one of the only places in the world where entire communities-with canals, plazas and water courts-were built on top of wetlands out of oyster shells. And these sites face an imminent threat from climate impacts."
Thawing permafrost in Alaska is already eroding Cape Krusenstern National Monument and the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve.
"Irreplaceable prehistoric artifacts are actually crumbling out of the shorelines in these Alaskan sites and washing out to sea," Markham said.
The study also outlined work that could be done to help protect monuments such as the "Statue of Liberty, the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, in Buxton, N.C.," the news release reported.
"Cutting carbon emissions significantly and quickly can slow the pace of sea level rise, limit the temperature increases, and slow the expansion of the wildfire season," Angela Anderson, director of the Climate and Energy Program at UCS.