Science and Technology

Professor's second book gets down to earth


by Eric Gorton

 

SUMMARY: Paul Bogard's second book, The Ground Beneath Us: From the Oldest Cities to the Last Wilderness, What Dirt Tells Us About Who We Are (Little, Brown and Co.), gets readers to think about a natural resource that is largely taken for granted.


from the June 2017 digital issue of Madison

After raising awareness in his first book about light pollution and how it’s clouding our view of the nighttime sky, English professor Paul Bogard has shifted his attention 180 degrees to the ground beneath our feet.

Bogard’s second book, The Ground Beneath Us: From the Oldest Cities to the Last Wilderness, What Dirt Tells Us About Who We Are (Little, Brown and Co.), hit bookstores on March 21.

Like his first book, Bogard’s goal with The Ground Beneath Us is to get readers to think about a natural resource that is largely taken for granted.

Paul Bogard with a copy of his book, The Ground Beneath Us
Paul Bogard gets down to earth in his newest book.

“We spend 90 to 95 percent of our time inside,” Bogard says. “And when we walk outside, most of us walk on pavement. So we’ve become literally separated from natural ground. … And I think that as we’ve become separated from the natural ground, we’ve become separated from the fact that the natural ground, the natural world, gives us what we need to live.

Bogard says the book is written for a general audience. Readers should enjoy his earthly accounts of his visits to Treblinka, the Nazi death camp in Poland; farm fields in Iowa; rural parts of Colombia; and major cities such as New York and London.

“At the end of the book, I come home to the place where I live and I walk out the door and look down at the ground right where I live, because ultimately the most important ground to any of us is the ground directly under our feet.”

Bogard says he is lucky in that he gets to teach environmental writing at JMU. He tells his students they are “learning the same skills from me that you’ll use the rest of your life as a writer. It’s not like it’s something way different when you get published.”

Find out more about Bogard’s teaching philosophy in this Taking on Tomorrow feature.

The Ground Beneath Us can be purchased at www.paul-bogard.com/books-and-writings/.

# # #

Published: Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Back to Top

    Related Articles

  • Jimmy wearing eclipse glasses thumb How to safely see the eclipse

    Special protection will be needed to safely view the Aug. 21 eclipse.

  • MM-Richard Xu-1000X600 Not just a better mousetrap

    Engineering major Richard Xu is designing and building a 3-D printer from scratch.

  • 2017 Lantz IL3 Update thumb Getting a green light

    In experiments with white blood cells collected from mice with genes that have been modified . . .


Read More