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File:About Baselines and Change.png

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H/t to Rebecca Solnit, Harper's Magazine, September 2017


In the 1990s, the fisheries biologist Daniel Pauly popularized the term “shifting baselines” to describe the impossibility of accurately appraising the present without a clear sense of the past. A baseline is the stable point from which you measure change in a system before it was damaged or dramatically altered — the usual date on which the spring thaw used to arrive before climate change began, for example, or the total population of a given species before it became endangered. The scientist and filmmaker Randy Olson put it this way:

If we know the baseline for a degraded ecosystem, we can work to restore it. But if the baseline shifted before we really had a chance to chart it, then we can end up accepting a degraded state as normal — or even as an improvement.


You can manage only what you can measure Dr David Crisp, OCO-2, June 2014 m.jpg

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current11:46, 21 August 2017Thumbnail for version as of 11:46, 21 August 2017592 × 312 (33 KB)Siterunner (Talk | contribs)

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