Magazine Beach, a public park between Memorial Drive and the Charles River in Cambridge, hosted a summer opening celebration on Friday, June 20th. Yet amid the families picnicking on the grass and dancing to jazz music played by a vibrant Mardi Gras band was a reminder that public spaces like these are in danger of disappearing.
Dozens of orange and red fish dotted the park in two lines, one among the bushes along the river and another halfway up a hill leading to the magazine that gives the park its name, marking potential flood lines due to climate change in 2050 and 2100.
This Rising Tides installation was ephemeral, just lasting the duration of the event.
The Magazine Beach event used data provided by the MWRA to demonstrate conservative estimates for 2050 and 2100, when flood levels are expected to reach at least 3 feet and 6 feet above ground, respectively.
Energy Necklace Project interns Jake Scherlis and Kelly McGee helped produce and install the painted fish markers at the site.
Juxtaposed with the festive celebration, the fish waving in the breeze served as a powerful reminder of the impact that climate change will have on the places we live.
Rising sea levels may soon cause outdoor gathering spaces like Magazine Beach to disappear. Yet the event also made clear the strong sense of community present within our urban environments – a force that can take action to address the changes we face.
Written by Kelly McGee, Energy Necklace Project Community Liaison, Harvard College Class of 2017