About While Glaciers Slept: M Jackson weaves together the parallel stories of what happens when the climates of a family and a planet change. A noted scientist and National Geographic Expert, reveals how these events are deeply intertwined, and how the deterioration of her parents’ health was as devastating as the inexorable changing of Earth’s climate. Jackson poses a stark question: if losing one’s parents is so devastating, how can we survive the destruction of the planet that sustains us? Jackson draws both literal and metaphorical parallels between the degradation of the climate and her parents’ struggles with cancer. Nonetheless, Jackson shows that even in the darkest of times we cannot lose hope. Jackson guides us to solar, wind, and geothermal solutions, bringing us along on her expeditions to research climate change and to educate people about how to stop it. Scientists are continually looking for better ways to translate hard science into human language and that is precisely what this book does. While Glaciers Slept shows us that the story of one family can be the story of one planet, and that climate change has a human face. Climate change, she convinces us, is not just about science—it is also about the audacity of human courage and imagination.
Acclaim for While Glaciers Slept: “M Jackson does an intriguing job of weaving together observations about human health and frailty with global biospheric health and frailty. Her narrative brings climate change down from an abstract global scale to a very personal human scale. Particularly engaging for the non-scientist reader.” ―Dr. Steve Running, Nobel Prize winner and American’s foremost expert on climate change
“Climate change is many things, including an upheaval--sudden and violent--in the life of our planet. As such, it unleashes feelings and forces like those in a family when someone dies. This is a profound way of thinking about where we are right now, and what we better do about it.” ―Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org and author of Eaarth and The End of Nature
“If you’ve known hard grief and loss, you will understand this book. If you have hope or the wish for it, this book will shore you up. While Glaciers Slept tells a story of devotion and survival as it examines the ongoing global crisis of climate change. M Jackson is a naturalist, a teacher, and a daughter who mourns her mother’s death as she discovers and explores the best choice, the only true choice ahead―a path of hope and action for ourselves and the living planet that birthed us all.” ―Phil Condon, author of Montana Surround, Clay Center, and Nine Ten Again
“The literary fabric of M Jackson’s While Glaciers Slept comprises two strands intricately and intimately braided together. One is her engagement in a family journey through accident and disease that inflict pain and ultimately death on her parents. The second strand is also one of inflicted pain, but at a planetary scale―the degradation of Earth itself by its human inhabitants. M moves almost effortlessly from loss of limb to loss of ice, from prosthetics to a planetary parasol. The intertwining of the two strands creates a powerful narrative of humanity, singly and in the multitudes.” ―Henry Pollack, author of A World Without Ice and a winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his work on climate change
“As the poet Tony Hoagland has pointed out, most of us ‘…walk like zombies through our burning dying world…’ Not so M Jackson, who moves through the world very much aware of both the little and individually important things, such as family, while simultaneously perceiving and understanding the catastrophe that is happening all around us. In While Glaciers Slept, she links the one to the other in a flawless and brilliant way. This is superb.” ―Carlos Martinez, author of The Cold Music of the Ocean and The Raw Silk of the Dark
"Jackson, a National Geographic Expert and prominent scientist passionate about researching glacial systems, explores in this emotional memoir her experience of losing her parents, one after the other, to cancer. Literally and metaphorically, the author compares the hopelessness she felt in the aftermath of their deaths with the depression people sometimes encounter witnessing the destruction of the environment. While at times on the verge of giving up in the face of such personal upheaval, Jackson persevered in learning a new way of living, as humanity will have to do with the advent of climate change. She offers parallel glimpses of optimism, both for herself and for the future of the planet, sharing her journey of growth and discovery while at the same time highlighting imaginative, radical projects proposed by innovative thinkers designed to avert what most scientists believe to be inevitable: a changed earth. VERDICT Reminiscent of Bill McKibben's "Eaarth", this title will interest readers of environmental issues, particularly climate change and a warming Arctic region, and fans of personal narratives." ―Venessa Hughes, Buffalo, NY Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission. (Library Journal Starred Review)
Environmental educator and National Geographic Emerging Explorer, M Jackson has spent decades researching environmental change and the transformative capabilities of communities. Jackson does 10-20 speaking events per year, weaving together research findings, personal stories, and different ways individuals and societies can move forward with climatic changes.
M Jackson is a 2017 Emerging Explorer for the National Geographic Society, a designation that “recognizes and supports uniquely gifted and inspiring scientists, conservationists, storytellers, and innovators—explorers who are already making a difference and changing the world” for her decades-long interdisciplinary natural and social science research exploring human societies, glaciers, and climate change worldwide. Every year, National Geographic recognizes and supports uniquely gifted and inspiring scientists, conservationists, storytellers and innovators who are changing the world, known as our Emerging Explorers… These bold people with transformative ideas are taking National Geographic’s mission further and improving the world as they go.