Note to Reader:
The keynote presentation by Kim Stephens at the 2016 Rising to the Challenge Conference organized by Stormwater Australia was structured in five parts: a front-end that set the context, followed by four ‘modules’ that elaborated on the theme “parallel journeys” and provided perspective regarding and insight into the “top-down & bottom-up” approach that characterizes collaboration in the British Columbia local government setting.
The “front-end” that introduces the four modules is the subject of the YouTube video presented below.
The Shifting Baseline Syndrome is Relevant to All Aspects of Change
Dr. Daniel Pauly developed the concept of the Shifting Baseline Syndrome to describe why each new generation lacks direct knowledge of the historical condition of the environment, and how this lack of understanding plays out as a ‘failure to notice change’.
A Short History
Dr. Pauly developed the concept in reference to fisheries management in a one-page paper titled Anecdotes and the shifting baseline syndrome of fisheries, published in 1995.
“It’s one of my most cited papers, though it’s a very short piece. It’s like a thinking piece; it has no numbers, no equations,” stated Daniel Pauly in a 2010 TED Talk. “We transform the world, but we don’t remember it. We adjust our baseline to the new level, and we don’t recall what was there.”
“Communities can shift the ecological baseline upwards; they can replicate a desired watershed condition. This requires commitment and time,” stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director with the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia.
“Through a ‘regional team approach’ that cuts across boundaries, disciplines and sectors….. local governments and partners can implement watershed-based solutions that create a legacy.”
To Learn More:
Download Parallel Journeys to a Resilient Future: Water Cycle / Water Balance Approaches in Australia and British Columbia – 2001 to 2016 and Beyond to view a PDF copy of the entire PowerPoint presentation by Kim Stephens.
A backgrounder that build on the work of Dr. Daniel Pauly has been prepared to help inform knowledge-sharing. To download a PDF copy, click on Creating the Future in British Columbia: Recognize and Address the “Shifting Baseline”.
Below, the set of 6 slides from Module 1 are presented for convenience of reference when the reader views the YouTube video (12:38 minutes).