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Proving the ‘shifting baselines’ theory by Jeremy Hance

In biology, civilisation, ecology, nature, research on July 23, 2012 at 20:06

 

From: Proving the ‘shifting baselines’ theory: how humans consistently misperceive nature by Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM

…In other words, due to short life-spans and faulty memories, humans have a poor conception of how much of the natural world has been degraded by our actions, because our ‘baseline’ shifts with every generation, and sometimes even in an individual. In essence, what we see as pristine nature would be seen by our ancestors as hopelessly degraded, and what we see as degraded our children will view as ‘natural’.

Shifting baselines requires that an ecosystem has changed. Looking at changing bird populations in Yorkshire County in England, the researchers were able to show empirical evidence of a population undergoing ‘shifting baselines’, both through generational amnesia and personal amnesia.

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