Ground truth A geological survey of a life

Ruby McConnell

Book - 2020

"The cataclysmic eruption of Mt. St. Helens in May, 1980 marked the start of a decades-long struggle over resources, land-use, and economics that would leave the Pacific Northwest forever changed. Beginning at that pivotal moment and written with the critical eye of a seasoned earth scientist, Ground Truth is an extended eulogy to a rapidly changing land and population awakening to the realities of climate change, land-use, and pollution. Part natural history, part memoir-in-essays, Ground ...Truth is a moving portrait of the forces and landscapes that have shaped a region and the people who live there. In McConnell's complex, brutal, and beautiful Northwest, geology frequently comes to bear upon human lives, challenging notions of the region as a wild, untouched, and abundant landscape and forcing us to see ourselves as subject to these same processes"--Amazon.

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Subjects
Published
Portland, Oregon : Overcup Press 2020.
Language
English
Physical Description
187 pages ; 22 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN
1732610320
9781732610323
Main Author
Ruby McConnell (author)
Review by Publisher Summary 1

The cataclysmic eruption of Mt. St. Helens in May, 1980 marked the start of a decades-long struggle over resources, land-use, and economics that would leave the Pacific Northwest forever changed. Beginning at that pivotal moment and written with the critical eye of a seasoned earth scientist, Ground Truth is an extended eulogy to a rapidly changing land and population awakening to the realities of climate change, land-use, and pollution. Part natural history, part memoir-in-essays, Ground Truth is a moving portrait of the forces and landscapes that have shaped a region and the people who live there. In McConnell’s complex, brutal, and beautiful Northwest, geology frequently comes to bear upon human lives, challenging notions of the region as a wild, untouched, and abundant landscape and forcing us to see ourselves as subject to these same processes.The book illuminates the central role of landscapes in our ideas of home and self despite the growing disconnect between modern lifestyle and the environment. Written with a scientifically-driven female voice, McConnell’s timely and significant work reveals how the landscapes we inhabit can also help us better understand ourselves and our relationship to the ground beneath our feet.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

FINALIST for the 2021 Oregon Book Award. Rooted in the Pacific Northwest, the essays in Ruby McConnell’s Ground Truth: A Geological Survey of a Life cover the vast terrain of this region – from volcanoes to city parks, the eroding shorelines along the Oregon coast, badlands, lush forests, and city parks. Combining her background as a registered geologist, McConnell’s essays also weave in personal landscapes composed of grief, loss, and optimism for the future of our environment. "The Pacific Northwest that you see today is the result of forty years of radical changes in the culture and economics of what was once a resource-extraction and agriculture-driven region. They are changes so fundamental in nature and scope...that, for those of us from this place, will always be marked by the cataclysmic eruptions of Mt. St. Helens on May 18, 1980." --Ruby McConnell In this collection of 17 essays, geologist Ruby McConnell opens her part natural history, part memoir-in-essays about the Pacific Northwest with the cataclysmic eruption of Mt. St. Helens in May of 1980. She was two years old. "Everything that I have stood direct witness to since, everything I know about this place, happened after we watched the mountain crumble... I was born to a region digging out." In poignant and wide-ranging essays that include the wondrous annual return of salmon, "the lifeblood of the Pacific Northwest people," to working at an elementary school evaluating soil and wondering how many kids have cancer, Ground Truth is an extended eulogy to a rapidly changing land, population and society awakening to the realities of logging, climate change, land-use and pollution. The book illuminates the central role of landscapes in our ideas of home and self despite the growing disconnect between modern lifestyle and the environment. McConnell's timely and significant work reveals how the landscapes we inhabit can also help us better understand ourselves.