This project talks about an environmental transformation in the Apuan Alps of Tuscany, Italy. A fascinating place due to its geological, botanical and landscape characteristics—also the site where the famous, white Carrara marble is extracted.

Every year, approximately five million tons of the mountain are removed via its quarries—but only a minimal amount for ornamental use. In fact, 80% of the extracted marble is made up of fragments, mostly employed in the production of calcium carbonate. This material is widely used in industry, due to its unique properties and relatively low cost. It can be found in bleached paper, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, foods, toothpaste, paints, glues, detergents, plastics, rubber, glass, ceramics…to name just a few! In short, a laundry list of the products that we use daily.

But every day, as well, the environmental impact increases. The landscape is undergoing irreversible changes. An appropriate response would be to take the calcium carbonate from elsewhere or perhaps to use other substances as substitutes. But no, we continue to extract and the mountains continue to shrivel.

Thus, this mountain is a symbol of the environmental issues that are critical for our country (and our world). We need long-term strategies, oriented towards sustainable activities, in order to start a different trend. Otherwise the problem will be resolved only when the mountain has been completely erased.

—Andrea Foligni

Editors’ note: This conceptual landscape series investigates environmental transformations through an unusual lens. It was selected as a finalist in the LensCulture Exposure Awards 2015. Discover more inspiring work from all 31 of the winners and finalists.