4.003 Field

Extractive Cartographies

The west Cumbrian coast is an archetype at the apex of humankind’s mastery over nature: the industrial revolution. A landscape formed by decades of extraction, and exchange, the haematite mines brought employment, wealth and prosperity to an otherwise remote and scarce part of Britain. But it did so to the detriment of the environment. Humans mined the ground, building railways and sea walls to protect their endeavours, but these efforts were repeatedly destroyed by the very geology and tides that brought them their wealth.

Today, the environment is heaving free the shackles of human industrialisation in increasingly unpredictable ways, and the climate crisis has shone a bright light on how severely our socio-economic models have impacted the natural environment.

Nature will thrive if we let it. Through strategic intensification, temporary interventions and radical conservation, we can refocus apparently conflicting natural and human systems into equilibrium, placing humans and nature on a shared path towards a green industrial revolution.

Cartography by Kirsty Badenoch