Climate change lessons at the ICA Watershed and Sustainable Solutions Lab | One Waterfront Ambassadors weekly wrap-up

Now halfway through the six-week program, an action-packed summer with our Waterfront Ambassadors has been flying by. The City of Boston students have been a welcome addition to the One Waterfront team, both by contributing their stewardship services to projects along the harbor and meeting and learning from local businesses and members and leaders of the East Boston community.

Week three focused on the theme of environment and the impact humans have—both positive and negative—on our natural surroundings. The group went on two field trips to learn about climate change from different perspectives, and took some time for professional development, with a Financial Literacy Workshop provided by Bank of America, including a crash course in good money habits.  

Making the best of a few rainy days, the Ambassadors also spent an entire day at the East Boston Branch of the Boston Public Library to learn about climate change and the human impact on our environment. Putting what they learned into practice, the Ambassadors made visits to Eastie Farm and The Greenway to help with maintenance and upkeep, tending the plots and helping the spaces thrive.  

"I love going into topics in which the kids are able to really delve into aspects outside of just the science portion,” said Program Manager Aubrey. “We go into a lot of philosophical questions and especially about society and human nature.” 

For a fun mid-week activity, the group took a trip to the ICA Watershed to plant some new flowers, and also to explore the featured exhibits. It was the first visit to the gallery—formerly a condemned space in the Boston Harbor Shipyard and Marina—for the whole group, and they were fascinated by everything on display, in particular the Purple exhibit.  

The Purple Exhibit is a video installation by artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah and co-commissioned by ICA. It features six large video screens showcasing both newly shot film and archival footage, the mixture of which delivers a powerful message on climate change across the planet, and the many implications for today and tomorrow.  

“Symphonic in scale and divided into five interwoven movements, the film features various disappearing ecological landscapes, from the hinterlands of Alaska and the desolate environments of Greenland to the Tahitian Peninsula and the volcanic Marquesas Islands in the South Pacific,” explains “Purple conveys the complex and fragile interrelation of human and non-human life with a sense of poetic gravity that registers the vulnerability of living in precarious environments.” 

Wrapping up the week was a visit to the Sustainable Solutions Lab at UMass Boston, where the Ambassadors met with Lab Director Rebecca Herst. The group enjoyed learning about the research they conduct, and the work they do to address the disproportionate impacts of climate change. 

“Over the next 50 years, trillions of dollars will be invested in climate change mitigation and resilience,” SSL explains on its website. “Focusing on equity in our adaptation efforts, we have an opportunity to reshape cities to address injustices of the past and ensure historically marginalized communities benefit from the prosperity that climate change projects, planning, and investments generate – making our society as a whole more resilient..”

Looking ahead, next week will feature a collaboration with artist Carolina Aragón and landscape architect Gretchen Rabinkin! This will involve a field trip to the Fort Point Channel, one of the city’s top priority sites for bolstering its resilience against storm-related flooding and rising sea levels.  

Stay tuned for the next recap! 


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