Phase 1: Join the Exchange

Explore Phase 1 of the Ecotopian Toolkit Project exhibit at the Independence Seaport Museum through the visuals and text below.

Join the Conversation!

We want to hear from you! We already have many “ecotopian” tools at our disposal that we use every day to help inform and reduce our impact on the environment and protect our waterways. These include recycling, picking up trash off the street, turning off the faucet when brushing our teeth, and Museum exhibits like River Alive!. These actions and resources are just the tip of the “tool” iceberg. Need a specific tool to help inform your decision on what to do with waste? Have a practical tool or resource that others may find useful? Or maybe you have a tool to scale up individual actions or to shape public discourse? Tell us about your tools, what tools you need, and join the conversation. 

At the end of this phase, all of the questions, answers, tips, tools, and resources submitted will be compiled into a resource library available to the public. Also, make sure to come back and check out Phase Two and Three of the exhibit! 



There are 4 ways to contribute:

  • Have a question?

Need a tool? Have a question on what you can do to reduce your impact? Like what to do with your old clothes or empty laundry detergent bottles other than just tossing them in the trash? Or how to connect with others who share your concerns? Ask it with a Question Card (Blue). Write down your inquiry and add it to the wall for others to answer!

  • Have an answer? 

Think you have a helpful tool or connection to a question you see? Respond with an Answer Card (Green). Write down your response and add it behind the Question Card you answer. Don’t worry, there can be more than one answer for each question! Make sure you put them all back on the wall.

  • Have a helpful tip? 

Maybe you don’t have a question or an answer, but you just have an excellent tool at your disposal. Share it with a Tip Card (Yellow). Write down your suggestion and add it to the wall to inspire and help others!

  • Know a good resource? 

Know an organization, program, shop, artist, or creator contributing to the conversation outside of these walls? Share it with a Resource Card (Red). Write down your resource and add it to the wall to connect others to helpful information and opportunities.

When you join the conversation, we all benefit.  

Spread the word

See a helpful answer, tip, or resource, but you’re worried you’ll forget? Snap a pic with your phone to save for later. Or share it on social media for the whole world to see! Make sure to use #ecotopiantoolkit and tag @phillyseaport and @PPEHLab.

Need a tool? Ask! Have a tool? Share it! 


This project involves complicated concepts, terms, and processes. This panel will help familiarize you with some of the fundamental ideas used throughout.

Utopia, Utopian(ism)  

  • An ideal, often good place. The belief or pursuit of an ideal life, community, or place.   


  • An imaginative approach to better relations between humans and non-humans, land and water, and a commitment to just Ecological Futures.  


  • A device made and used to help carry out a particular function, usually used to make a task easier, or in this case, understandable.  
  • It doesn’t necessarily have to be physical or tangible, but an idea to effect change.   

Ecotopian Toolkit  

  • A tool or set of tools to help work toward Ecotopian Futures.   
  • A growing public resource to help us change the way we think and live, to improve our relationship and impact on the environment.   

Anthropocene Geological Age   

  • The current proposed geological age. A period or epoch where our climate and environment are heavily influenced by human activity.  
  • Human-caused (anthropogenic) changes include global warming, habitat loss, changes in earth systems, including the atmosphere’s chemical composition, our oceans, the weather, soil, and plant and animal extinctions.  
  • A contested term for which many alternatives have been suggested, i.e., Plantationocene, Capitalocene, etc. 

Water Justice

  • The right to having equal and equitable access to clean and safe water used for necessary survival, sanitation, and recreation. 

“Wicked” Problem

  • An intertwined problem that typically involves social, economic, and political issues that are forever shifting and changing, making it impossible to define. 
  • It is hard to measure the problem and its solution; both have an unknown set of potential consequences and incomplete or contradictory information. 
  • Some “wicked” problems are climate change, poverty, sustainability, equality, and public health and wellness.