"Jamestown will go extinct": Climate change threatens historic colony

Jamestown (Virginia) -- Jamestown is still struggling to withstand the effects of climate change, more than 400 years after its first European settlers arrived.

NewsEditor
NewsEditor
07 July 2022 Thursday 20:25
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"Jamestown will go extinct": Climate change threatens historic colony

Jamestown (Virginia) -- Jamestown is still struggling to withstand the effects of climate change, more than 400 years after its first European settlers arrived.

"We are concerned that Jamestown will disappear if we do not take action," Elizabeth Kostelny, who manages Preservation Virginia, a non-profit responsible for the preservation of the original 22 acres on the James River.

Kostelny is trying to save the site from rising waters. He said that America would lose "part its soul" if it sinks.

She said that Jamestown is "incredibly important" to CBS News. It tells a national story of our persistence, democracy, and the beginnings to our race relations.

The Jamestown colony was the first step towards representative government in the New World. It is also where Pocahontas and John Rolfe were married. It is still a site of archeological history that remains hidden and waiting for its discovery. Kostelny stated that she finds significant things at the site every day.

"Jamestown is the world's most important heritage site. This is the place where we draw a line about climate change, sea level rise and cultural heritage," David Givens (director of archeology at Jamestown Rediscovery) told CBS News.

This line in the sand begins with the construction of a 1904 seawall on the river bank. 96,000 tons granite were added to deflect the power of ever-strongening storms.

In the past century, the river has increased more than 18 inches. Every five years, so-called 100-year hurricanes are now common. The rising river isn't the greatest threat to Jamestown. It's a swamp, which is literally consuming history as it grows.

"We have water from both sides, below and above. "We're being attacked from all sides," Michael Lavin of Jamestown, who leads the fight against climate change, said to CBS News. To save Jamestown, we'll need to build buildings, repair archaeology and put in berms.

To save this American treasure, it will be necessary to raise tens of million of dollars over five years.

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