Youth and Climate Advocacy

The climate art installation on East Boston Greenway   FutureWaters|AguasFuturas is getting noticed by the most important section of the population it is meant for: our youth. One of them (Varshini Prakash of Sunrise Movement who lives in East Boston) was able to draw the attention of a member of the United States Congress with her picture to our climate vulnerability.

Americorps service member Lanika Sanders with Boston Latin Academy students
Young residents of Eastie enjoying the installation (“We are happy to see this beautiful installation but terrified by what it signifies.”)
Varshini Prakash (Sunrise Movement) reads the description of the installation regarding anticipated flood levels.

Varshini (from Sunrise Movement) tweeted her picture under the installation to Congresswoman-elect Ayanna Pressley, saying she would drown at this level of water, and asking Pressley to take a specific action. Here is the tweet and the response from Pressley.

Varshini’s tweet:

Pressley’s response:

One BLA student asked several critical questions about the  installation:

  • Where did we get the data?
  • How much of the anticipated level is due to storm surge vs. high tide vs. sea level rise?
  • Given that, how bad would it be without the storm surge?

(We will be posting the details in an FAQ.)

Incidentally, through his questions, he helped us realize our problems will grow more and more significant even without the storm surge, merely from the sea level rise and high tide.


FutureWATERS|AGUASfuturas on the Greenway

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Eastie Farm Americorps service member Lanika Sanders measures herself against 2070 flood levels

Do you think you can walk along the Greenway in 2070? What about 2030?

If you are wondering why we are asking this question, go check out FutureWATERS|AGUASfuturas, the bold and beautiful installation that brings art and science together on the East Boston Greenway asap, showing two anticipated flood levels, the 2030 and the 2070. Without any additional efforts, this will be our reality.

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The blue balls change color with temperature. There are also dynamic elements of the art (motion sensitive illumination in the dark).
Climate Change and its consequences are a significant threat for the young.

The blue balls that you see mounted on the chicken wire mesh change color with temperature, and serve as a visual reminder of the already occurring erratic weather patterns and warming trend that can be attributed to climate destabilization.

Viewed from the Sumner Street overpass

The installation is interactive. Motion sensors trigger battery (solar powered) operated wavy illumination.

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FutureWATERS|AGUASfuturas is located at the Marginal Street end of the East Boston Greenway, easily accessible by walk from Maverick Station on the MBTA blue line. The display will be up until the first week of December 2018.

FutureWATERS|AGUASfuturas was designed by Carolina Aragon, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture, University of Massachusetts. The data to determine the anticipated water levels was supplied by the Woodshole Group, UMass Boston SSL (Sustainable Solutions Lab), and UMass Boston School of Environment. Gretchen Robinkin of Boston Society of Landscape Architecture coordinated and supported the process from conception to implementation. The design, material, and installation costs are paid for by the Friends of East Boston Greenway, from the Barr Foundation‘s Waterfront Partnership program grant.

Carolina Aragon is the brain behind FutureWATERS|AGUASfuturas (Photo credit: Rudi Seitz)

Several members of the East Boston community were involved in making and installing the art.

Members of the community have been stopping by and observing the installation day and night. One resident remarked, “This is shocking. I’d like to know what we can do about it.”

Eagle Hill resident expresses shock after observing the art and reading the explanation. “This is shocking!”
The Eastie for Eastie team working on Managed Retreat (a proactive plan for dealing with unlivable waterfront areas) observing the anticipated 2030 flood levels.