It’s time to face the change...

This story was started during a summer residency at 836M Gallery in San Francisco. I am extremely grateful to the gallery for the time and space in which to work. Special thanks to Rina Ayuyang for inviting me to participate; and to Rina, Janelle Hessig, and Thien Pham for being such an inspiring and fun creative cohort.

© Tyler Cohen, 2023

It’s time to face the change...

RESEARCH and CONTEXT Like many, I think a lot about climate change. I contemplate what our physical environs will be like—and how we will mitigate and adapt what we are moving towards and through. This story—this “future memoir” is essentially my hopepunk built out of a need to imagine us not building sea walls that will eventually fail, but instead working with restoration and nurturance of natural systems that function as part of a healing ecology. While this story is in my imagined personal future, I did a lot of research, and want to share some of the macro context: Estuaries, watersheds, tidal marshes, and intertidal zones are complex ecosystems and rich biological resources. San Francisco Bay is just one small part of the San Francisco Estuary, the largest estuary in California. Its watershed extends almost 60,000 square miles and reaches 40% of California. In my story, water management applies knowledge and collaboration

with indigineous land stewardship. Continued and coordinated restoration of the San Francisco Estuary will help with mitigation and absorption of rising sea levels, as well as support habitats for innumerable species, food webs, living soil, and water. Current wetlands have filtered and locked into their sediment heavy metals like methyl mercury that will be stirred up by the rising seas. Rising waters will also release toxins currently buried in landfill on which parts of San Francisco are built. I imagine fungal matts used as an ecological way to filter and clean up heavy metals and other released toxins, but it will take time. In the meanwhile, water will carry many of these toxins. Oysters, too, help to filter heavy metals out of the water—but it does make the oysters unsafe to eat. Speaking of eating...and the need for water, I’m imagining passive water collection nets connected to water storage and gardens; lots more solar panels; and a rewilding with edible native plants.

Before the city of San Francisco was built, this finger of land was

and a lot of discussion as to what to do with those spaces. My future proposes we turn some into indoor vertical farms—and maybe utilize tidal energy in addition to solar. As storms, fires, and droughts continue to ravage land where farms currently struggle—and as these conditions get even more extreme—we may need to bring some of our food growing indoors. -Tyler Cohen

predominantly dune. As the oceans rise, I imagine the dunes along the Pacific moving inward, reclaiming some of their mobility and space. I looked at a lot of maps that project where the shoreline will be in 20–50 years... Most of the sea incursion into San Francisco will be on the East side and the Northeast tip. Currently, there are a lot of empty highrises downtown

Some references: www.sfestuary.org San Francisco Estuary Blueprint 2022 report www.sfei.org Ecology, Conservation, and Restoration of Tidal Marshes , by Arnas Palaima https://explorer.adaptingtorisingtides.org/explorer

A few books I found inspiring: Believers: Making a Life at the End of the World , by Lisa Wells A Half-Built Garden , by Ruthanna Emrys Afterglow: Climate Fiction for Future Ancestors , ed. by Grist

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