Ground Truth: A Geological Survey of a Life by Ruby McConnell
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.
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