Industrial Ecology: An Oxymoron?
A growing number of sites in the United States are capitalizing on their industrial heritage. Rather than being viewed simply as liabilities because of potential contamination, brownfield initiatives in the U.S. allow funding for cleanup and development of properties ranging from gas stations to steel mills.
Industrial ecology involves ecosystems in which:
“…the use of energies and materials is optimized, wastes and pollution are minimized, and there is an economically viable role for every product of a manufacturing process.”
— from Strategies for Manufacturing
Though testaments to abuses of the environment, former industrial sites are also records of a society, encompassing the history of immigration, organization of labor, and advances in science.
Examples in the Ruhr Valley, Germany’s industrial backbone, confront the area’s history head-on and establish a positive legacy for future generations.
See gorgeous night photos of Ruhr Valley industry by Christian Bruenig.