Ready for fact number 4?!
Today I also came across an interesting book called ”Wild Ones”, which focuses on our dysfunctional relationship with wild animals. Saving a species isn’t easy. What do you choose to save and how? Do you focus on one target species or a habitat? How do our emotions and relationships came into play and influence these decisions? Questions such as these are strongly linked to a phenomenon known as the ‘shifting baseline syndrome’, formulated by Daniel Pauly in 1995, which the author (Jon Mooallem) appears to have a strong focus on in this book. It arises when:
• each new generation does not know what nature may have looked like before mankind started to cultivate;
• the cultivated landscape and the wildlife within it changes almost imperceptibly for each generation;
• each new generation defines what is ‘natural’ according to its own experience of the (changed) cultural landscape it has encountered, and uses this as a baseline against which to measure changes in the environment.
For example, as Mooallem puts it himself – “overfishing may deplete fish stocks, but the next generation doesn’t “see the oceans as depleted; that depleted condition becomes their baseline, against which they’ll measure any subsequent losses in their lifetimes.”
So this makes the life of a conservationist difficult, taking us back to the questions of what to save and how? How dependent are species on our efforts? Once I have read this I will give it a review as I have a strong interest in the Shifting Baseline Syndrome. If any of you have read it please comment and let me know your thoughts! Below is the trailer for the book, which may spark some interest!