The report finds that 29 of the 41 national parks and reserves measured had at least one ecosystem rated as fair or poor. Twelve of the parks or reserves had all of the areas measured rated as good. […]
Canadians currently have an opportunity to tell the minister directly what they want done with federal parks.
[Federal Environment Minister Catherine] McKenna has been holding in-person and online consultations with stakeholders and the general public. The consultations wrap up Friday.
More than 1,700 people have submitted comments, many of them urging the minister to put nature before development.
Woodley isn’t surprised.
“I think it’s important for this government to understand Canadians do love our national parks. They are one of our top symbols of national identity.
“But they love them because they’re natural. Because they’re wild spaces that are places where wildlife can live and where there’s pristine natural beauty,” Woodley said. …
Slatereports Donald Trump’s first days in office has made George Orwell’s Nineteen-Eighty-Four (aka 1984, published 1949) the bestselling book on Amazon, and Salon says the books publisher has already ordered a new printing. According to the Associated Press,
With “alternate facts” the latest catchphrase, George Orwell’s “1984” is No. 1 on Amazon.com and the publisher has ordered an additional 75,000 copies.
I take a visual approach to answering that question, examining book jacket covers through time. My survey, which utilizes Emily Temple’s 2011 George Orwell’s 1984: A Visual History, reveals three key aspects of Orwell’s future (today’s present):
Anxiety and Fear (dystopia)
Scroll down to see the examples I have selected of each theme on book covers dating from 1954 to present.
Controlling heritage is a vital function of Orwell’s Ministry of Truth, where the slogan is “Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.”
It is this aspect that I think most people are connecting with Trump. From Wikipedia:
The Ministry of Truth is the propaganda ministry. As with the other ministries in the novel, the name Ministry of Truth is a misnomer because in reality it serves the opposite: it is responsible for any necessary falsification of historical events.
As well as administering truth, the ministry spreads a new language amongst the populace called Newspeak, in which, for example, “truth” is understood to mean statements like 2 + 2 = 5 when the situation warrants. In keeping with the concept of doublethink, the ministry is thus aptly named in that it creates/manufactures “truth” in the Newspeak sense of the word. The book describes the doctoring of historical records to show a government-approved version of events.
However, as with dystopia, Donald Trump did not invent Newspeak; recall, for example, George W. Bush’s persistent problems with “truthiness.” This, I suggest, is more evidence that Trump is being scapegoated by a nation already in crisis. Nevertheless, Trump is, I believe, triggering anomie on a national scale.
We are stewards of the past; we are the caretakers of unwritten history. We have a job to do. Use your sites and projects to…illustrate [to] all of the people who made the U.S. the great nation that it is, and make certain that our elected representatives understand that our heritage is the greatest currency we have. Our history, all of our history, is what makes the United States what it is, is what makes us Americans, is what makes us great. Not Again. Then, Now, and Forever. J. W. Joseph, President, Society for Historical Archaeology, November 11, 2016
We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first. America first. Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States, January 20, 2017
There is a surprisingly close association between American presidents and historic preservation. Greg Werkheiser, Cultural Heritage Partners, Inc., March 29, 2016
The compliance process is far from perfect, but is it uniquely American. Holly Kathryn Norton, Colorado State Archaeologist, November 10, 2016
…our world [is] under attack. Holly Kathryn Norton, Colorado State Archaeologist, November 10, 2016
AS I DESCRIBE in Heritage in the Age of Trump, the election of Donald J. Trump on November 8, 2016 as the 45th President of the United States received a varied but emotionally charged response from American heritage experts, leading many to ‘speak their minds.’ Those fleeting moments of pre-inaugural truth-telling are drawn on here to demonstrate the hypocrisy of American archaeology.
I take as a point of departure on this matter Bob Muckle’s brave suggestion that we consider “the possibility that archaeology could thrive under a Trump Administration,” although it would not likely “be a kind of archaeology that most archaeologists or the public would want.” For Muckle,
Archaeology is political and it could be co-opted to support a political agenda. Authoritarians have done it before. Recall the Nazis had a significant archaeology program. And archaeology was highly valued by Saddam Hussein in Iraq.
Most relevant here is American CRM expert Tom King’s conclusion (emphasis added):
Many people involved in managing and protecting ‘cultural heritage’—historic buildings, archaeological sites, antiquities, indigenous spiritual sites and landscapes, and other parts of the environment valued for cultural reasons by human communities—anticipate that the Donald Trump administration will quickly do away with many of the legal protections that such heritage enjoys. They also expect that many of the government systems set up to manage heritage, such as State Historic Preservation Officers and the National Register of Historic Places, will be transformed and cut back, if not eliminated. Many view these possibilities with fear; others think they present the opportunity to build better systems.
Rather than doing away with current laws, King predicts the Trump government will simply “bully the government’s employees into making the laws meaningless.”
The heritage industry’s response to Trump’s election on November 8 was swift and for many emotional. Patricia Markert took the news as provocation, writing “Where before I felt that our job was dialogic and weighty, I now feel that it is critical. It is potentially revolutionary. The world has changed overnight, and the role of archaeology along with it.”
So did J. W. Joseph, President of the Society for Historical Archaeology, who proclaimed “I will gladly defend the territory of American history, and that is a non-partisan tract that cannot be overrun.”
Markert described waking up “devastated,” adding defiantly “I am going to bed ready to fight like hell the tools I have—from my trowel to my classroom—to make this world a place for everyone.” Yet, the global ecological crisis was unfolding on November 7 just the same as on November 9. What if Hillary Clinton had won? Would people still have such passion to save the planet, with or without trowel?
Writing in the royal ‘we’ or pluralis majestatis, Holly K. Norton, Colorado State Archaeologist and Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer, explained how “We woke on Wednesday morning to find our world under attack, in a very literal sense.”
The United States has just elected a man who has made promises to deport our friends and families, to destroy legislation that protects our health, and to eliminate safeguards on our environment. It is clear to all of us that we have a lot of work to do, and I have no doubt that we will each fight in whatever corner of the discipline in which we work. However, it is imperative at this time that we also stand together and consciously choose to understand and support each other’s work. I believe in the four fields of anthropology, and I believe now is the time we need to return to a more holistic approach to our broad discipline.
Problematically, the system Norton is so concerned about losing was corrupt and broken before Trump got elected, so why the concern now? As before, if Clinton had won the presidency, would any of these issues be raised? Or is it only because Trump was elected?
Remember, all of these comments were made before Trump took office January 20, 2017. Without having ever stepped foot in the White House, Trump was blamed for things he had nothing directly to do with. The question is why?
To be clear, I am sympathetic with those threatened by Trump. They have every reason to be fearful. My concern, however, is that this focus on Trump too easily distracts people from the bigger picture, in this case that all of these systemic and structural problems pre-date Trump. While his leadership may indeed pose a threat, the heritage-industrial complex was already in existential crisis (see also here and here) long before his election.
In this way, the heritage industry’s response to the election of Donald Trump in November 2016 is a clear-cut case of scapegoating. As shown in Figure 1, a scapegoat is a person made to bear the blame for the mistakes, faults or shortcoming of others, especially for reasons of expediency—that is, for reasons of convenience or practicality. Not only does the scapegoat take on the sins of others, they suffer in place of those responsible, leaving the guilty parties to continue on as usual.
Pinning all of archaeology’s problems on Trump is an easy way to absolve the discipline of its anxieties—a process related to Tom King’s “whitewashing.” But it is clear that cultural resource management has been toxic for some time, arguably always.
This toxicity is exposed in the way industry insiders have responded to Trump’s election, views starkly different than the idealistic visions of Markert and Norton above. Marion Werkheiser, Attorney for the American firm Cultural Heritage Partners, Inc., stated, for example:
In what could be a boon for CRM firms, President-elect Trump and Congress have expressed interest in passing a major infrastructure bill that would fund upgrades to roads, airports, hospitals, and ports. The new administration has also promised to open up public lands for oil and gas development, mining, and other activities. Development on public lands is subject to Section 106 review.
In this context, more Section 106 reviews mean more money coming into the industry.
J. W. Joseph of the Society for Historical Archaeology noted that while “Trump speaks against environmental regulation,”
many of the initiatives he will challenge and overturn are Executive Orders from President Obama that will not affect us. [Trump] calls for streamlining environmental review; I support that call, and the CRM industry has made great strides in the past decade. This is an area where we can all apply our acumen; I have no qualms with doing our work better and faster.
He added, “I am an eternal optimist, which is, I think, a characteristic of the American spirit. We are a nation of expansion and opportunity.”
Joseph’s words should be music to the ears of the commercial core of the American heritage industrial-complex, which includes approximately 1,300 CRM firms employing more than 10,000 professionals generating at least $1 billion dollars in revenue annually.
In this light, Trump’s presidency may well mean big business for archaeologists. As Marion Werkheiser summarized: “the Republican Party platform explains, ‘We will…modernize the permitting process under the National Environmental Policy Act so it can no longer invite frivolous lawsuits, thwart sorely needed projects, kill jobs, and strangle growth.’”
Yet more archaeology means more development and more destruction of places that matter. Hence, the hypocrisy of American archaeology: while trained to promote preservation of history in all its forms, archaeologists are likewise responsible for its loss on an every-day basis. Indeed, archaeology/CRM’s existence is dependent on the very development that leads to site destruction. While academic archaeologists may like to believe they are not integral to this project and the crises it produces, they are profoundly mistaken (see also here).
Alarmed by the potential for heritage disasters under Trump, Tom King sought a different model with his “Heritage After Trump” Award. King offered “(US$1,000) to the person, consortium, group, organization, gang, or crowd that produces the best written description of the cultural heritage program the United States should put in place once the Trump phenomenon has run its course.”
Joseph was less concerned about the impact of Trump’s victory: “[W]e know that the U.S. is a hub of a global world, that the global world and economy was set in motion by European exploration of the 15th century, and that it cannot be undone by one man in four years.”
These are bold words from an archaeologist. After all, archaeologists are in a prime position to know that overextended states are prone to collapse. Perhaps this time, rather than interpreting its material signature, we’ll actually be witnesses to it. But whether heritage laws are repealed under Trump or the current model is simply allowed to go on, the continued destruction of life-sustaining heritage seems inevitable—a crisis that predates Trump by decades.
Richard M. Hutchings directs the Institute for Critical Heritage and Tourism, British Columbia, Canada. He is the author of Maritime Heritage in Crisis: Indigenous Landscapes and Global Ecological Breakdown (2017, Routledge) and numerous academic articles, including Archaeology as Disaster Capitalism and Why Archaeologists Misrepresent Their Practice—A North American Perspective.
The Institute for Critical Heritage and Tourism recently submitted the following entry to Tom King’s “Heritage After Trump” Award. While ICHT’s submission did not win (our argument meant we were unable to follow King’s strict rules), we do hope it sheds some light on the deeply flawed logic upon which the award is based, notably the idea that global ecological breakdown is a technical problem that can be fixed by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. (or any capital) simply by replacing legislation. Like most experts who study planetary crisis, we see the problem as inherently structural.
We have been told a dedicated Heritage After Trump website is in development. In the meantime, and after reading our submission below, you can read our other work on the subject, Heritage in the Age of Trump.
The Signatories of this Document follow the 1992 World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity (Union of Concerned Scientists 1992) in asserting the following five principles:
We must bring environmentally damaging activities under control to restore and protect the integrity of the earth’s systems we depend on.
We must manage resources crucial to human welfare more effectively.
We must stabilize population. This will be possible only if all nations recognize that it requires improved social and economic conditions, and the adoption of effective, voluntary family planning.
We must reduce and eventually eliminate poverty.
We must ensure sexual equality, and guarantee women control over their own reproductive decisions.
We also follow the World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity in recognizing
A new ethic is required—a new attitude towards discharging our responsibility for caring for ourselves and for the earth. We must recognize the earth’s limited capacity to provide for us. We must recognize its fragility. We must no longer allow it to be ravaged. This ethic must motivate a great movement, convincing reluctant leaders and reluctant governments and reluctant peoples themselves to effect the needed changes.
As a consequence, the Signatories of this Document do not believe a one-size-fits-all heritage policy—however well-intended (Scott 1998, 2010)—can bring about this new ethic. Indeed, we believe the promotion by experts of a single-policy solution runs the risk of (1) misleading the public and other scholars into thinking potentially intractable contemporary socioenvironmental problems (Fassbinder 2016) are resolvable by modern governments and (2) reinforcing the idea that experts have either the knowledge or capabilities to enact meaningful change (Homer-Dixon 2007). A useful point of departure on this subject is this observation by Fikret Berkes and colleagues (2007:308):
Resource management is at a crossroads. Problems are complex, values are in dispute, facts are uncertain, and predictions are possible only in a limited sense. The scientific system that underlies resource management is facing a crisis of confidence in legitimacy and power. Top-down resource management does not work for a multitude of reasons, and the era of expert-knows-best decision making is all but over.
It is time for heritage experts to move beyond single-policy solutions (Ostrom et al. 2007).
Recognizing the scope and scale of the global heritage crisis (Fassbinder 2016; Union of Concerned Scientists 1992), and to avoid the trappings of naïve optimism in dealing with that crisis (Homer-Dixon 2007), we have sought a simple but realistic heritage stewardship model. We believe we have found two key strategies that define that model.
The first strategy is John Bodley’s Small Nation Solution, which confronts among many issues (e.g., elite directed growth) the core problem of population. According to Bodley (2013:vii),
The Small Nation Solution offers a very simple solution to the world’s biggest problems of poverty and environmental decline. The solution is simply that first each nation needs to be the optimum size, which means small, preferably fewer than ten million people. Its citizens then need to reach a consensus on what they value most highly, and how these valued objects can be most justly distributed. In addition to scale and consensus, the small nation solution requires adherence to two fundamental principles that apply both within individual small nations and in a small nation world system: subsidiarity and heterogeneity. Subsidiarity means getting decision-making as close to the people as possible. Heterogeneity is about people in each small nation having maximum freedom to find the best solution(s) for their particular situation.
Bodley’s concept of small nations is intentionally flexible, reflecting his belief in “societies being the best size to solve human problems, not in categorizing for the sake of categorizing.”
As a step towards implementing small nation solutions, the second strategy is Alan Parker’s Recommendations to Native Government Leadership. According to Parker (2012:189-91), “communities must adapt to changing conditions at a pace that will stress their social, economic, and cultural fabrics. But, we cannot afford to join our fellow Americans in massive denial. The time to plan and adapt is now.” Below is Parker’s 10-point plan (amended):
Gather information on the impacts of global ecological breakdown in your region and make it available to your community.
Secure sources of water.
Secure sources of food.
Prepare for impacts on plant and animal species.
Develop relationships with neighboring governments and communities regarding disaster planning.
Consider political alliances to build a renewable energy policy.
Consider strategies to unite communities around the protection needed to defend treaty rights.
Consider active involvement as sovereign governments in global climate change negotiations.
Get youth involved in cultural education and defending their future.
Work with other communities across imposed colonial boundaries on the basis of being natural regions.
Our model for heritage stewardship recognizes the links between the ideology of growth, development, and progress, and environmental thus cultural heritage destruction. To counter this, an emancipatory approach to heritage, as outlined here, begins with local control and questioning authority (Smith 2004). Designed to promote heritage resilience into the future, the result is not one but many solutions.
Richard M. Hutchings, Ph.D.
Marina La Salle, Ph.D.
Institute for Critical Heritage and Tourism, British Columbia, Canada
Berkes, Fikret, Derek Armitage, and Nancy Doubleday
2007. Synthesis: Adapting, Innovating, Evolving. In Adaptive Co-Management, edited by D. Armitage, F. Berkes, and N. Doubleday, pp. 308-27. UBC Press, Vancouver.
Bodley, John H.
2013. The Small Nation Solution: How the World’s Smallest Nations Can Solve the World’s Biggest Problems. AltaMira, Lanham.
Fassbinder, Samuel Day
2016. The Literature of the Anthropocene: Four Reviews. Capitalism Nature Socialism DOI: 10.1080/10455752.2016.1245918.
2007. The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization. Vintage Canada, Toronto.
Ostrom, Elinor, Marco A. Janssen, and John M. Anderies
2007. Going beyond Panaceas. PNAS 104(39):15176-8.
2012. Recommendations to Native Government Leadership. In Asserting Native Resilience: Pacific Rim Indigenous Nations Face the Climate Crisis, edited by Z. Grossman and A. Parker, pp. 189-92. Oregon State University Press, Corvallis.
Scott, James C.
1998. Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. Yale University Press, New Haven.
2010. The Trouble with the View from Above. CATO Institute September 8. Electronic document, http://www.cato-unbound.org/2010/09/08/james-c-scott/trouble-view-above.
2004. Archaeological Theory and the Politics of Cultural Heritage. Routledge, London.
Union of Concerned Scientists
1992. 1992 World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity. Electronic document, http://www.ucsusa.org/about/1992-world-scientists.html.
Threats to Archaeology and Heritage—Free Journal Access
Publisher Routledge/Taylor & Francis is offering free access to fourteen articles on the theme Threats to Archaeology and Heritage. The offer expires 30 April 2017.
The publisher writes:
From the devastating war in Syria and the destruction of Palmyra, the impacts of climate change and natural disasters to issues of governance and policy, threats to archaeology and heritage come in many forms. This article collection presents papers which examine some of those threats and provide potential solutions or policies to help us protect our pasts.
The articles are:
Commentary: ‘I Dwell in Possibility’ — Ethical Futures for Heritage and Archaeology Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa | Link Tracy Ireland
Protecting a Moveable and Immoveable Feast: Legal Safeguards for Yemen’s Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites | Link Stephen Steinbeiser
A Framework for Assessing the Vulnerability of Archaeological Sites to Climate Change: Theory, Development, and Application Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites | Link Cathy Daly
Managing, Valuing, and Protecting Heritage Resources in the Twenty-First Century: Peatland Archaeology, the Ecosystem Services Framework, and the Kyoto Protocol Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites | Link Benjamin R. Gearey, William Fletcher & Ralph Fyfe
Adaptation to Climate Change at UK World Heritage Sites: Progress and Challenges The Historic Environment: Policy & Practice | Link Helen Phillips
Looting and vandalism around a World Heritage Site: Documenting modern damage to archaeological heritage in Petra’s hinterland Journal of Field Archaeology | Link Clive Vella, Emanuela Bocancea, Thomas M. Urban, Alex R. Knodell, Christopher A. Tuttle & Susan E. Alcock
Excavation is Digitization: Advances in Archaeological Practice Journal of Field Archaeology | Link Christopher H. Roosevelt, Peter Cobb, Emanuel Moss, Brandon R. Olson & Sinan Ünlüsoy
Cultural Heritage at Risk in the Twenty-First Century: A Vulnerability Assessment of Coastal Archaeological Sites in the United States Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology | Link Leslie A. Reeder-Myers
Vandalised and Looted, Rock-Cut Toombs of the Roman and Byzantine Periods: A Case Study from Saffa Village, Ramallah Province Palestine Exploration Quarterly | Link Salah Hussein Al-Houdalieh
The Values of Archaeological and Heritage Sites Public Archaeology | Link Arjo Klamer
Threats to the Archaeological Heritage in the Laissez-Faire World of Tourism: The Need for Global Standards as a Global Public Good Public Archaeology | Link Douglas C. Comer
Preservation as ‘Disaster Capitalism’: The Downside of Site Rescue and the Complexity of Community Engagement Public Archaeology | Link Anne Pyburn
Heritocide? Defining and Exploring Heritage Crime Public Archaeology | Link Louise Grove
Gridlock: UNESCO, Global Conflict and Failed Ambitions World Archaeology | Link Lynn Meskell
Year in Review—Archaeology and Heritage in the News, 2016
By Richard M. Hutchings | 28 December 2016
With 2016 in the rear-view mirror, it’s a good time to pause and reflect on the year that was. For me, two stories stand out. First, I believe 2016 may be regarded as the year the archaeology world became aware of the scope and scale of the global heritage crisis, particularly as it relates to climate change impacts (Hutchings 2016; Kawaja 2016; Markham et al. 2016).
This awareness is timely because 2016 is set to be the hottest year on record and a new high for the third year in a row, meaning 16 of the 17 hottest years on record will have been this century (Carrington 2016a; Thompson 2016). This is of particular concern for coastal communities (Hutchings 2016) as sea level rise estimates doubled this year, a result of Antarctica’s rapid meltdown. Previously expected to rise 1 metre by 2100, 2 metres by 2200, and 3 metres by 2300, global seas are now estimated to rise upwards of 2 metres by the end of this century (Carrington 2016b) and 3 to 5 metres by 2200. The loss of ice on Antarctica alone could cause seas to rise more than 15 metres (50 feet) by 2500 (Dennis and Mooney 2016).
The fear now is that climate change is escalating so fast it could be “game over” in terms of stabilizing global temperatures below “dangerous” levels (i.e., below 2C [3.6F] above pre-industrial levels by 2100) (Johnston 2016). While previous “business as usual” models—characterized by continued use of large amounts of fossil fuels—have meant the Earth’s average temperature will rise by between 2.6C (4.7F) and 4.8C (8.6F) degrees above pre-industrial levels by 2100, new estimates suggest the actual range could be between 4.8C (8.6F) to 7.4C (13.3F) degrees by 2100 (Friedrich et al. 2016). As Ian Johnston (2016) writes,
It is a vision of a future so apocalyptic that it is hard to even imagine. But, if leading scientists are right, planet Earth could be on course for global warming of more than seven degrees Celsius within a lifetime. And that, according to one of the world’s most renowned climatologists, could be “game over”—particularly given the imminent presence of climate change denier Donald Trump in the White House.
Along with “Anthropocene” (Fassbinder 2016) and “President Trump” (King 2016), it appears we must also now add the term “runaway global warming” to the heritage lexicon.
The second story is important because it illustrates perfectly the problems inherent to archaeology and the modern heritage-industrial complex in which it is so deeply enmeshed, as well as how that system is connected to the climate crisis (Hutchings 2016). On August 9, Amnesty International (2016) called for a stop-work order on British Columbia’s $8.8 billion plus Site C hydroelectric dam, saying the Peace River megaproject threatens the human rights of Indigenous peoples. …