Shifting baselines: why we so readily accept the progressive decline of the natural world

Date:

Shifting baselines: why we so readily accept the progressive decline of the natural world

Shifting baselines

Speaker: Callum Roberts, Professor of Marine Conservation, University of York

Shifting environmental baselines are intergenerational changes in how we perceive the state of our world. Each generation sets its mental baseline based how the world looked in their youth and perceives change relative to this benchmark. Younger generations accept as normal a world that seems tainted and degraded to older generations. This societal amnesia leads to lowered expectations that in turn produce lower ambitions when it comes to protecting and restoring nature. Shifting baselines help explain why we are failing to arrest the haemorrhaging of biodiversity in the modern world. In his talk, Callum Roberts will explore the pervasive nature of shifting baselines in our daily experience, illustrating the idea using examples from across the world. He will ask whether there are ways to reset shifted baselines and counter our unwitting acceptance of creeping environmental degradation.

This meeting is free and open to all; registration is not necessary.

Image: © Shutterstock, Microstock Man.

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