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Ruby McConnel smiles in a desert landscape

ARTIST STATEMENT

I write creative and literary nonfiction essays and books about the intersection of the environment and human experience and am the author of a trio of feminist outdoor skills books designed to empower, equip, and inspire women and girls to spend more time outdoors. In truth, much of what I write about is disaster and catastrophe, particularly the ways in which human experiences of these things are intertwined with the natural world’s expression of them. Increasingly, I write about hope, timescales, and the ways we can understand and adapt to risk.

Ultimately, my work is rooted in one goal, getting people to investigate their relationship to the natural world and compelling them to take action. I became a writer after more than a decade working on the front lines of the environmental movement as an activist, educator, and specialist in soil and groundwater contamination. Through that work I realized that my perspective as someone who lived and worked outdoors, someone privy to the hidden impacts of modernity and humanity, meant that I had something important and pressing to say. More than a decade after starting my writing career, the need is no less pressing. In September 2020 I watched as chapter after chapter of my essay collection, Ground Truth, burned while we sat helpless, hemmed in by Covid.

In my life outside of writing, I am a lot of things. I am a first generation American. I am a woman scientist in a male-dominated field. I am a thirty-year veteran of activism for peace and a healthy and just environment. I am a daughter, wife and mother. I am a lifelong dancer and performer, a teacher, and a researcher. I am a community builder. I am just another person trying to make my way. In my capacity as a writer, I am a translator of the landscape, a witness bearer to the impacts of humanity, and a canary song for those of us that care about survival in age of consequence and the legacy we are leaving for future generations. I believe that change is possible.  

Quote from Ground Truth about a new kind of environmentalism
Ruby is a storyteller of the land, which is what geologists are.
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