Anthropo-scene #5: Industrial Wilderness

Christian
October 16th 2013

Go back 100 years at exactly this location, and you would hardly be able to breathe and stand the noise. The Hattingen ironworks are an icon of the Ruhr region, one of the early centers of the Industrial Revolution. Starting in 1854, iron ore was extracted here and smelted with the help of local coal to produce high-grade steel of all sorts. When the local ores were depleted, the company in charge used imports from all around the world. In 1987, however, operations were so unprofitable that they came to a halt. Then, a post-industrial revolution began, a natural one.

Plants from China, South Africa and other countries that had been brought along with the ores started to take over the site and rare birds like Peregrine Falcons began to breed here. A hill, created with slag, became so overgrown that you can mistake it for something completely natural. And local eco-enthusiasts now use this momentum to create a "post-industrial wilderness" – with this "Wildwiese" (wild meadow) as one element. There's even an exploratory route in the Ruhr region linking 19 sites of "industrial nature". Don't be surprised to see more rare plants and animals there than in places you consider to be proper "nature".

Other installations in the Anthropo-scene series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

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1 comment

Vtz
Posted 10/11/2013 – 18:12

Chernobyl exclusion zone is a more famous example of this.

What is your view on the coronavirus?


Siri Beerends: I really embrace the idea that viruses can teach us a lesson in modesty. It is necessary that our position as the dominant species on the planet is being challenged. I also agree that it is a mistake to think that we are becoming Gods. But unfortunately, this is actually what is happening now. Corona doesn’t teach us to be modest, it teaches us how we can -as quickly as possible- go back to business as usual: saving our capitalistic economy.

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