Charlestown’s Pier 5 could be the next battleground
Renée Loth’s April 23 Opinion column, “Bringing Boston into the wild,” really hit home in thinking about how we consider outdoor activities and open space in a post-pandemic world. If one had to look for a silver lining in all we have been through, among the biggest would be a reappreciation for connecting with nature and the value of safe, healthy open spaces.
In the Charlestown Navy Yard sits an empty and dilapidated pier, the historic Pier 5. The city has let this site languish for years, and now it is slated for development. What we don’t need is more development along the waterfront. What we have with Pier 5 is an opportunity to craft a vision that incorporates open space, climate resiliency, educational opportunities on climate science, and access to the waterfront for all. It would be a shame to lose this rare opportunity to create something open and valuable for generations to come.
Let’s start with our own backyards — and front lawns
On Earth Day, Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza launched a public awareness campaign, asking residents and businesses to eliminate or reduce their use of potentially harmful chemicals on their lawns and gardens (“Mayor asks Providence to cut use of lawn, garden chemicals,” Metro, April 23). Indeed, the city’s Parks Department has eliminated nearly all pesticides and herbicides from parks and playgrounds.
Meanwhile, as detailed by Renée Loth (“Bringing Boston into the wild”), there are ongoing efforts in Boston to restore natural systems. Both Elorza, in Providence, and Loth, on the Opinion pages, invite the public to participate, emphasizing that we all matter. As Loth writes, Rewilding “need not be on a grand scale: Individual citizens can replace chemically maintained lawns with native wildflowers that attract butterflies, or plant the sidewalk berms . . . with hardy perennials. Every small act is a step closer to nature.”
What better place to start in addressing our planet’s environmental distress than our own backyards, or in this case, front lawns?