alqassimi1_PAWAN SHARMAAFP via Getty Images_flooding historic sites PAWAN SHARMA/AFP via Getty Images

The Power of Culture-Based Climate Action

The escalating climate crisis is rapidly evolving into a cultural emergency that threatens some of the world’s most valued heritage sites. But leveraging cultural diversity can also play a pivotal role in mitigating and adapting to climate change, unlocking innovative strategies, and promoting inclusivity.

ABU DHABI/SALVADOR – Climate change affects every aspect of our lives, from the food we produce and our health to global peace and security. But the climate crisis is transforming not only our natural ecosystems but also our social and cultural landscapes, eroding our tangible and intangible heritage and practices, and depriving us of precious sources of resilience, meaning, identity, and knowledge.

In short, the climate crisis is rapidly becoming a cultural emergency. Climate change is already damaging important sites around the world, with UNESCO reporting that nearly one-third of its 318 World Heritage cities are located in vulnerable coastal areas. These historic locations, which have long linked countries and communities to their cultural identities, now face gradual erosion and are in danger of being lost forever.

Moreover, climate change poses a clear and immediate threat to communities’ unique ways of life. Oral traditions, performing arts, festive events, and traditional knowledge, all of which have developed gradually over many generations, are vulnerable to the ravages of the climate crisis.