What did we learn about climate change and cultural memory? And what can we do about it? In the final episode of season 2, host Nicole Kang Ferraiolo and producer Lizzi Albert try to answer those questions. They share their biggest takeaways from the season, from climate change’s unequal impacts, to the importance of nuanced disaster narratives, to the necessity of rethinking how we work. The one idea on every guest’s mind? Climate change is everyone’s problem, and we all have a role to play in finding solutions. And this includes heritage and information workers.
Where do we house memory? What do our records say about who we are—and what does it mean to lose them? And is there a way to archive tragedy without amplifying or exploiting trauma? In this episode, archivist and doctoral candidate Itza Carbajal speaks about co-organizing the 2019 climate strike teach-ins, her work as a post-custodial archivist in Latin America, and what she’s learned from her experience as an evacuee of Hurricane Katrina.
In 2008, the Bangladeshi folk song tradition known as Baul gaan was among the first forms of intangible cultural heritage to be listed by UNESCO as endangered. Intangible or “living” cultural heritage includes language, food, folk arts, festivals, and other traditions handed down between generations, and often requires a different approach to preservation than artifacts or historic sites. In this episode, host Nicole Kang Ferraiolo talks to media and culture scholar Saiful Alam Chowdhury about living heritage in Bangladesh, the urgency of preservation in a country vulnerable to the impacts of rising sea levels, and the role of media in getting people to take action.
Victoria Herrmann, president and managing director at the Arctic Institute, speaks with host Nicole Kang Ferraiolo about climate change and forced displacement in the US and what it means for different communities and their cultural heritage. Drawing on her own history as the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, Victoria makes the case that the documentation and preservation of culture helps build resilience, and that cultural heritage should be at the forefront of climate policy.
Natural hazards are among the biggest threats climate change poses to cultural heritage. In this episode, Dr. Crystal Felima talks to host Nicole Kang Ferraiolo about her path from academia to FEMA and how her identity informs her work as a disaster anthropologist and emergency manager. Tune in to hear about Crystal’s work in Haiti and Puerto Rico, and her thoughts on the relationship between culture and resilience, models of collaboration, and why it matters how we tell the story of disaster.
Disclaimer: The views expressed by Crystal Felima in this interview are hers alone and do not necessarily represent those of FEMA.
98.8%: that’s the percentage of American archives likely to encounter at least one climate risk factor by the year 2100, according to a 2018 article by Eira Tansey and Ben Goldman. In this episode, Nicole speaks with the archivists whose work SAA described as “tireless and… critical to addressing the impact of climate change on the archival profession.” Eira and Ben discuss their approaches to climate activism and the superpowers librarians can bring to the fight for environmental justice, both within and outside of their employer institutions.
Climate change is the biggest challenge facing humanity. It stands to disrupt every aspect of our lives, including our cultural heritage. But how much do records, buildings, artifacts, or even traditions matter in the face of extreme weather and massive human displacement? Join this season’s host, Nicole Kang Ferraiolo, as she speaks to all seven of this season’s guests about the risks climate change poses to our cultural memory and why we should care. We’ll also get a sneak peak at the topics covered this season and what’s to come in the episodes ahead.