The Sea Level Rise Ruler
What is the Sea Level Rise Ruler and Why Was It Created?
The vast majority of climate change research and policy to date has been focused on stopping global warming at 1.5 degrees Centigrade. Vinny Valetutti believes that the key issue requiring immediate focus is that the world’s glaciers have already begun melting, contributing to potentially significant rise in sea level, and he is concerned that halting global warming at 1.5 degrees C will not address this issue.
Vinny, a retired licensed Professional Engineer living in the northeast United States, has spent years researching the issue of global warming. His interest began when he was shocked to learn that sea level has already risen by 400 feet since the peak of the last ice age. He believes, that at current or increased global temperatures, the ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland will continue to melt, due in part to basal melt of the ice shelves. The planet needs to cool back down in order to stop it.
To communicate the importance and immediacy of the problem of sea level rise, Vinny has developed a symbol of that problem. His creation is called the “Sea Level Rise Ruler,” a 30-foot tall structure that depicts what sea level rise may look like.
“Vinny’s monstrous ‘Sea Level Rise Ruler’ is far from 12 inches long,” says Jackson Cote, in his June 23, 2020, article about the SLRR in MassLive [see full article below].
According to Vinny, “I marked the 11- and 22-foot levels in red, because those indicate where our sea level would rise if only 5% or 10% of Antarctica and Greenland were to melt. When people stand next to the Sea Level Rise Ruler and see how high 11 and 22 feet of water would be, they get a taste of how scary the reality of sea levels rise is.”
Like the Doomsday Clock—a well-known symbol that represents the likelihood of a man-made global catastrophe—the Sea Level Rise Ruler is intended to provide a representation of the coming catastrophe that can be understood by everyone.
The Sea Level Rise Ruler has already been displayed within Massachusetts and Washington, DC, during 2020, and Valetutti’s plan is to travel the East Coast with it and use it to educate the public and key decision makers.
Sea Level Rise Ruler -- The Warning
Halting Global Warming at 1.5 degrees C isn’t enough to stop the melting and collapse of important glaciers around the world.
Here’s just one example. Thwaites is a glacier in West Antarctica dubbed the “Doomsday Glacier.” Once the ice shelf collapses, unstoppable amounts of ice will flow into the sea, displacing the water and resulting in a significant rise in sea level.
Currently, the most vulnerable are Indigenous peoples who live on some 2,000 islands of Micronesia, Palau, Tuvalu, Seychelles, Maldives, and Kiribati. These people are already been forced to relocate. With additional increases in sea level, these islands will become uninhabitable.
Moreover, permanently flooded coastal cities/ports will catastrophically destroy our housing, energy, financial and transportation sectors, worldwide.
Most climate scientists are focused on predicting the time frame of when the glaciers will melt. But science can’t perfectly predict the timing of future events.
Sea level rise will only happen one time, unlike other global warming processes that come and go with the seasons (like forest fires and hurricanes) and whose damage can be dealt with, Sea level rise can’t be undone. Once science predicts the timing of sea level rise, it will be too late to reverse the catastrophe, it may already be too late.
A YouTube video, produced by Sam Ellis for the Vox Video Lab, explains this.
Vinny also authored a 2020 book, If I Were President: 29 Alternative Ideas for Solving Global Problems. Sharing his thoughts to enlighten and inspire, he hopes that together, we can create a more unified, compassionate planet.
Sea Level Rise Ruler -- The Facts
The flyer on left indicates past Sea Level Rise and the potential for the future.
The flyer on the right depicts the increasing nature of Sea Level Rise.
Sea Level Rise Ruler -- In the News
Measuring a meltdown: Man displays ruler showing potential sea level rise due to global warming, Daily Hampshire Gazette — June 24th, 2020
Northampton man builds sea level rise ruler to raise awareness about climate change WWLP — June 24th, 2020, video
Retired Easthampton engineer builds 30-foot-tall ‘Sea Level Rise Ruler,' plans to drive it across the east coast to raise awareness about climate change
Easthampton resident Vinney Valetutti’s monstrous “Sea Level Rise Ruler” is far from 12 inches long.
The construction spans a whopping 30 feet and currently sits on a wooden platform attached to the Western Massachusetts man’s car.
With his structure, the former engineer is seeking to raise awareness about the dangers of rising sea levels due to climate change and ice caps melting.
“I simply hope to make people aware of the reality of sea level rise, as it is a unique part of the global warming discussion,” Valetutti said in a statement. “People tend to not focus on sea level rise because, at first glance, the daily effect is insignificant, but ice melt has a cumulative effect.”
Valetutti, a retired professional engineer who is passionate about energy conservation, stays up to date on the science of climate change. He was inspired in 2019 by Greta Thunberg, a 17-year-old Swedish girl who become internationally recognized for her environmental activism.
Using his background in engineering, Valetutti constructed a traveling flagpole that can hold a 30-foot-tall banner that replicates a ruler, with exact measurements in feet, according to the Easthampton resident.
“I marked the 11- and 22-foot levels in red, because those indicate where our sea level would rise if only 5% or 10% of Antarctica and Greenland were to melt,” he said. “When people stand next to the flagpole and see how high that really is, it shows how legitimate and scary the reality of rising sea levels is.”
The ruler has been sitting in Northampton, but Valetutti is hoping to drive his moveable education tool across the east coast, according to his statement.
“I wanted to take a stance on the side of climate change that is not always talked about – rising sea levels due to global warming,” the statement said.
Valetutti stressed how rapidly sea levels could rise and how little the problem is discussed.
“Sea level rise is real. It is scary, and there is no way to time it,” he said. “Mother Nature can work fast.”
Measuring a meltdown: Man displays ruler showing potential sea level rise due to global warming
NORTHAMPTON — For about a month, Florence resident Vinny Valetutti has been going to a parking lot off King Street to display a giant, 30-foot-long ruler. Why? He wants people to understand the seriousness of the sea level rising due to climate change.
“I chose to focus on this one thing, because I think it’s the most serious of all climate effects,” said Valetutti, 74, who was inspired to act by teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg. “I figured I had to do something about global warming.”
A retired engineer who has done car repairs and plumbing and electrical work on his own property, Valetutti has a penchant for putting things together. “Anything technical interests me tremendously,” he said.
To create the display, he had a print shop put the ruler on a giant banner; he designed its support, which a steel welding shop made out of steel. Valetutti bought a telescoping flagpole from which to hang the ruler, put together a hoisting arrangement for it and purchased a utility trailer to cart it around.
The banner has hash marks at every foot, and the marks at 11 feet and 22 feet are in red, highlighting how much sea level will rise if 5% and 10% of the ice in Greenland and Antarctica melt, respectively.
Since the peak of the last ice age, sea level has risen about 400 feet, Valetutti noted, and for it to rise significantly again, “Mother Nature, based on what she’s done in the past, only has to do a tiny amount more.”
The potential impact could be “economic disaster far greater than COVID-19,” he said.
While sea level has been relatively stable for most of the last 2,000 years, it is rising faster now than it has in the past 6,000 years, according to a 2016 study led by the Australian National University. As of 2018, sea level was 5 to 8 inches higher on average globally than it was in 1900.
Valetutti said that he had planned to take his display to communities down the East Coast. However, the pandemic put a stop to that, and he has only displayed the giant ruler in the King Street parking lot, across from Florence Savings Bank, eight to 10 times. He hopes to be invited to display the ruler elsewhere.
Valettuti said that a number of people honk their horns as they drive past and that around a dozen people drive up and talk to him each time he displays the banner. He also gives out fliers with information on climate change and its effects to passers-by.
“It’s been a very positive response,” he said.
Bera Dunau can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(top left) Vinny Valetutti of Florence raises a banner that shows potential sea level rise due to global warming in an empty lot on King Street in Northampton, Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY
(top right) Vinny Valetutti of Florence stands beside a banner that shows potential sea level rise due to global warming in an empty lot on King Street in Northampton, Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS
(bottom left) Vinny Valetutti of Florence secures the rigging of a banner that shows potential sea level rise due to global warming in an empty lot on King Street in Northampton, Wednesday, June 24, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERT
Northampton man builds sea level rise ruler to raise awareness about climate change
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – A retired engineer from Northampton has been taking the time to help educate people on the effects climate change may have on our world.
Vinny Valetutti has created a traveling 30 foot high mock ‘sea level rise ruler’ to spread awareness of the rising sea levels. The ruler has been parked in Northampton along King Street in an empty parking lot for the past couple of months.
Valetutti said the ruler indicates how much water levels could rise if only five or 10 percent of Antarctica and Greenland were to melt. Which he says water levels could rise about 11 to 22 feet.
The retired engineer, who has a passion for energy conservation was inspired by Greta Thunberg, who is a young climate change activist.
“When I realized that sea levels already risen 400 feet since the peak of the last ice age, that kind of really shocked me,” he told 22News. “I want to make people aware that this is the risk we have about not doing something about climate change.”
Valetutti hopes to travel along the East Coast with the ruler to get the message across and to start a movement to help share his project. Many drivers who pass the ruler on King Street have stopped to ask questions about the project, which he says is the time he can really start talking about his message.
WATCH THE VIDEO SEGMENT ON 22NEWS: