Each year, on April 18th, we celebrate International Day for Monuments and Sites – also known as World Heritage Day. The idea the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) had in creating this holiday, on 18 April 1982, was certainly to bring awareness to global sites pertaining to our cultural histories and to help preserve them for future generations. However, there’s an even bigger reason behind this observances – global unity.
See, humanity is a whole. All our moments in time – every culture and society – defines us and develops us as a species. Understanding where we came from and where we currently stand serves to guide us into who we will – and should – become. So much about life is cyclical, which is why the Mayans believed the way they did. Other things appear to be linear, though many question this philosophy of history, especially when you consider time and space / time-space continuum.
The reality is a simple truth – we are all in this together. And as George Santayana said, which Winston Churchill famously quoted during his speech to the House of Commons in 1948: ‘Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.’
So, today, let’s celebrate one another. “recognizing the potential of cultural heritage to enable inclusive, transformative and just climate action through the safeguarding of all types of cultural heritage from adverse climate impacts, the implementation of risk-informed disaster responses, delivering climate resilient sustainable development; and this from a perspective of equity and justice”  as the Cultural Heritage and the Climate Emergency declared in 2020.
History isn’t about honoring the past – it’s about learning from it. Good, bad, and everything in between has happened to create us – humanity. We can’t erase it or hide from it, but we can learn from it, so we can create a better tomorrow!