Waterfront Park Opening Celebrates Climate Change Theme

Richard Bangert--Fog Beast and the Shawl Anderson Youth Ensemble were one of the many musical performances at the Alameda Point Waterfront Park music and dance festival last Saturday.

Waterfront Park Opening Celebrates Climate Change Theme

On April 9, 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.

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, 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 smoke stacks, and plant a few more trees.”

This first phase of the park is designed to include event space. Saturday’s festival 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.

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 park. 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 DePave Park will begin. DePave 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 some lyrics to one of their songs.

“Multimeter sea level rise,
likely unavoidable
Social disruption
economic consequences
Forced migrations
quickly changing habitat
We may be looking at
The next mass extinction”

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