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Smithsonian DEPUTY UNDER SECRETARY for COLLECTIONS and INTERDISCIPLINARY SUPPORT
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Anthropocene

In October 2014, the Smithsonian convened the "Living in the Anthropocene: Prospects for Climate, Economics, Health, and Security" symposium. Accompanying the symposium was an official Smithsonian statement on climate change, which reads, in part:

"Rapid and long-lasting climate change is a topic of growing concern as the world looks to the future. Scientists, engineers and planners are seeking to understand the impact of new climate patterns, working to prepare our cities against the perils of rising storms and anticipating threats to our food, water supplies and national security. Scientific evidence has demonstrated that the global climate is warming as a result of increasing levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases generated by human activities. A pressing need exists for information that will improve our understanding of climate trends, determine the causes of the changes that are occurring and decrease the risks posed to humans and nature."

How these changes will affect the infrastructure of the Smithsonian's buildings and collections is a critical concern for the Smithsonian. As the official statement continues to emphasize:

"The Smithsonian has assembled collections of scientific specimens unsurpassed anywhere else in the world. These collections provide invaluable documentation of cultures and global biodiversity for scientists, scholars and the public. Extreme weather, rising sea levels and storm surges pose significant threats to the museums and research centers that house these collections, many of them located on low-lying land. Our charge is to protect, now and far into the future, this irreplaceable resource from the impacts of climate change and other hazards."

For more on the Anthropocene and the Smithsonian's climate change research, read the special report compiled by Smithsonian.com

To learn more about the ongoing Anthropocene activities, visit the Smithsonian Consortia.

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