Plausible Dystopias

  • Alice Fraser

A publication exploring Sheffield’s geological past, and probable futures. Geologists constantly look for clues about the past, to find out how the planet looked millions of years ago. The better they understand the past, the better they can foresee how events and processes of the present might influence our geological future.

Sheffield is positioned on top of one of the largest coalfields in the United Kingdom. Coal is an integral part of our past, explaining what the UK environment used to be like, but has also provided us with power, and economic stability, and growth for centuries. South Yorkshire coalfields are part of the Pennine Anticline, a geological formation of a ridge or fold of stratified rock in which the strata slope downwards from the middle crest. With South Yorkshire on the East, and Lancashire on the West, coal and Millstone Grit have eroded away to allow outcrops of limestone throughout the Peak District. Coal and Millstone Grit deposits still remain on the sides of the Pennine Anticline. This has allowed coal mining and their communities to spread prolifically throughout Lancashire and South Yorkshire. To consider what the environment of Sheffield entailed 300 million years ago requires looking for hints within our geology to find the evidence of the past. Geological evidence can tell us about past environments, temperatures, animals, plants, ecological anomalies, extinctions and natural disasters, all of which can lead us towards what a future of Sheffields’ geological deposits could be like.
Plausible Dystopias explores Sheffield’s geological past, how this has influenced it’s climate today, and how our current actions on the planet will affect the future environments of Sheffield. As the Earth transitions into a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene, exploring how human interaction and climate change impacts will forever alter the landscape in which we live – not only globally, but locally in Sheffield too – is incredibly important in changing attitudes towards environmental activism.

The Anthropocene:
1. Relating to or denoting the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment. “We’ve become a major force of nature in this new Anthropocene epoch.” noun 1. The current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment. “Some geologists argue the Anthropocene began with the Industrial Revolution.”
As printing facilities and workshops are closed due to the current coronavirus crisis, printing and making of the publication and its accompanying concrete slip case was unable to happen. However, mockups and technical drawings allow the design to be presented, until the publication can be made fully.