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London monuments mark city’s rising water level with LED rings

London Monument PLUNGE

This isn’t just an art installation for art’s sake. Famous London monument landmarks have been wrapped around by Blue LED rings to indicate how far underwater researchers expect the city to be by the year 3012.

The Plunge project by artist Michael Pinsky is a joint collaboration between the Artsadmin and London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT), and aims to raise the public’s awareness of the rising sea level due to climate changes and how it would affect their city. 

“We will be marking the water line on some of the most iconic monuments in London so that people can see between the columns as to get an idea of where they stand,” Pinsky said.

With the low-energy LED rings as high as 28 meters (approximately 92 feet) above ground, the public should be in for a surreal revelation. The exhibition has hit three of London’s landmark columns such as the one in Paternoster Square, the site of the recent Occupy London movement. At the level of this blue LED ring, the nearby St. Paul’s Cathedral will have had its door entirely engulfed in water. Other columns include the Seven Dials Sundial pillar in Covent Garden’s theatre district, and the Duke of York’s column, located just a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace, which would be completely flooded. The strategic locations will expose the artwork to both local Londoners and tourists alike, hoping to help the public visualize and put in perspective the looming danger of global warming.

“Twenty-eight meters was chosen from looking at scenarios which have been set out in the science,” Pinsky said. “While it may be very unpredictable, it is commonly agreed that if the ice caps melt, the world could see sea level rises as high as 65 meters above current sea level … We went on the safer side of these predictions at 28 meters, so they are levels which are not unrealistic.”

If you need help visualizing how your home town will be affected, Plunge also offers an interactive tool on its official site to compare where your city stands with other world capitals. The exhibition will be live in London until March 4, 2012.

While the Plunge installations are depicting the rise of sea levels 1,000 years from now, it doesn’t mean we should wait before acting upon reducing the world’s carbon footprint. A study by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggests we may see the sea level go up nearly 7 to 23 inches by the end of the century, and that’s without the assumption that our carbon emissions may increase even more within the next few decades. You can help take part in reducing your carbon footprint by utilizing greener methods of transportation, such as riding a bicycle or traveling by public transit, and installing energy-saving lightbulbs and appliances. Trends in green technology may also help make our need for product consumption more efficient and sustainable.