Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ground Truthing

[This scene in Naples is from thegaviotacoast.com]

This morning I read the following excerpt, written by Penny Harrison, editor of the anthology Open Spaces, Voices from the Northwest:

In earth sciences, the term "ground truthing" is used as a shorthand for the process of  ensuring the accuracy of data collected at a distance (e.g. by remote sensing, aerial photography, satellite imagery, etc.), and the tentative conclusions based on that data by gathering actual data from the ground that may confirm, complement or dispute those conclusions. In the vernacular, ground truthing has come to mean a process by which we observe things up close and test objectively what we call reality. As such, it not only applies to science, but can also be used to test our assumptions, beliefs, judgments, and the trajectories of our lives.

....As historian William Cronon tells us in his essay on "The Uses of Environmental History", there is ample evidence that "the natural world exists quite apart from what we believe about it, that it powerfully affects the course of human history, and that if our beliefs diverge too far from its realities, we will eventually suffer as much as it will."

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When I was a girl,
the world felt
young and free.
I walked
on earth
that felt firm
beneath
my feet,
so I could trust it
would always
be there
to carry me.

But now
the planet
bucks and heaves
and splits,
stirred up by forces
hidden from
our view,
as corporate interests
desecrate
and manipulate
the land,
 money, power and greed
the only language
that they
understand.
.
In summer,
I walked  the piney
forest slopes,
down to
the apple orchards
I thought
would always be,
but now a city of condos
covers the land,
no more
the blossoms
far as I could see.

I thought
there would always be
an earth
that felt like home,
that there were enough trees
that we all could
always breathe,
but now aerial views show
barren slopes
stripped bare;
of future generations
big business
does not care.

Back then
we dreamed a dream
of a  better world
but somehow
that dream
has gone 
so far astray,
and we are
slowly waking
to the nightmare,
the fearful harvest
that is ours to reap
today.

How much more time
do we think we have
to turn the tide?
The truth, so scary,
our instinct is
to hide.

The world
will play out
the scene that we
have set
and,
after collapse
or cataclysm,
and a millenia
of relearning
the ancient wisdom
modern man
forgets,
perhaps
one day
that better world
can be ours
to nurture
yet.

7 comments:

  1. The tragedy of 'development' so well depicted..

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  2. I read a quote of Albert Einstein's yesterday It said "I believe that after WW3... WW4 will be fought with sticks and stones.
    I believe, he's right.

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  3. Sherry,
    I understand the pain in finding major changes, which have happened to places which were important to us, especially from our childhood.
    I have just had that experience again, after a long weekend spent in a hotel room in Belfast, looking out upon the streets of my childhood. Changed forever and not for the best.My most recent poem refers to that experience.
    Best wishes,
    Eileen

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  4. We can definitely learn some lessons from ancient man!

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  5. I wish there was more respect for the future. Those that abused were selfish and didn't think of their great, grand, grand heirs. It is sad and haunting what their shadows have created~ So haunting n' profound! xXx

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  6. I am thinking, one day, that there will be a little field, or one little tree, and it will have a fence around it, and people will come just to look at it. After everything is destroyed. We are told change will always come, I guess we can no more hold it back, or keep what is as it is... just can't be done. After all we are not the same, as we were. Some losses go right to the heart!

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  7. Sherry, this is so well done. And a terribly sad truth. The greed in this world is grotesque. The lack of care for nature, for this earth so unimaginable ... yet all around us. How can so many be so blind?

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I so appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.
Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!