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Waterfront Park Opening Celebrates Climate Change Theme

On April 9, 2022, the first phase of the terraced Alameda Point Seaplane Lagoon waterfront park officially opened with cultural performances.  One of the groups christening the new three-acre park was Fog Beast, in collaboration with the Shawl Anderson Youth Ensemble. Their performances captured the nature of the park, highlighting climate change and sea level rise.

Alameda Post - Fog Beast performs at Alameda Point
Fog Beast directors with the Shawl Anderson Youth Ensemble ending one of their performances on the terrace of the waterfront park at Alameda Point’s Seaplane Lagoon on Saturday. Recently-built condominiums can be seen in the background. Photo Richard Bangert.

Fog Beast has been creating performances on shorelines around the Bay for the last two years in collaboration with climate scientists, shoreline geologists and climate-engaged teenage artists.

“It was great timing to be invited by Tara Pilbrow of the West End Arts District to perform at the opening of a new shoreline park in Alameda,” said Melecio Estrella, a Fog Beast co-Director. “The launch of the Waterfront Park was a great opportunity to continue this exploration.”

Andrew Ward, the other co-Director, is a landscape architect who “merges these sensibilities into Fog Beast’s site-specific dance theater performance practice,” explained Estrella. “The landscape design of the new waterfront park, itself vulnerable to sea level rise, was a fertile and inspiring place to celebrate with Fog Beast’s form of public art.”

Their work challenges people in the spirit of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg to not accept timid responses to impending climate disaster that only decorate the landscape. In one of their performances they sing, “Manufactured landscapes, as far as we can see, decorate the smokestacks, and plant a few more trees.”

This first phase of the park is designed to include event space. Saturday’s festival for the waterfront park opening illustrated just how well the park’s fluid design can bring thousands of people to cultural events at the shoreline. The ensemble of dancers, singers, and musicians performed their message of climate adaptation fittingly on the terraces of this shoreline park designed to adapt to sea level rise.

Alameda Post - Fog Beast performs at Alameda Point
Fog Beast co-Director Melecio Estrella sings at the waterfront park opening. Photo Maurice Ramirez.

The park, which serves as a levee, was built by Alameda Point Partners, the developer of the nearby mixed-use area.

The grand opening celebrated the first phase of the waterfront park. [See Waterfront Park Launch Photos for more.]  By 2024, the developer will double the length of the currently completed phase. The city is in the process of officially naming the park.

As next phases of the park on the northern shoreline are constructed by future developers, the designs will become gradually more focused on passive uses, culminating at the western shoreline where De-Pave Park will begin. De-Pave Park will be a publicly accessible tidal wetland ecological park designed to continually adapt to rising sea level without a levee.

The festival of events was presented by the West End Arts District, Rhythmix Cultural Works, and the City of Alameda. The main sponsor was Alameda Point Partners.

Fog Beast provided us with the lyrics to one of their songs:

Multi-meter sea level rise
likely unavoidable
Social disruption
economic consequences

Forced migrations
quickly changing habitat
We may be looking at
The next mass extinction

some say we are from the ocean
species come and species go
Along the line we got the notion
that we design and run the show

Manufactured landscapes
as far as we can see
decorate the smokestacks
and plant a few more trees

All kinds of weather
frequently extreme now
everyone together
disaster relief

some say we are from the ocean
species come and species go
Along the line we got the notion
that we design and run the show

Forced migrations
quickly changing habitat
We may be looking at
The next mass extinction
Manufactured landscapes
as far as we can see
decorate the smokestacks
and plant a few more trees

Contributing writer Richard Bangert posts stories and photos about environmental issues on his blog Alameda Point Environmental Reporthttps://alamedapointenviro.com/.

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Alameda Post Inc. applied to the IRS for 501 (c)(3) non-profit status earlier this year. Members will be notified when the IRS sends a positive determination letter, making their membership or donation tax-deductible. Monthly members will receive their benefits after three months of membership. Memberships including tickets to history walking tours will be offered in limited quantities.