Shifting Baselines Syndrome

    LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “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. And the question is, why do people accept this? Well, because they don’t know that it was different,” stated UBC’s Dr. Daniel Pauly, a living legend in the world of marine biology who has had a profound influence on the work of the Partnership for Water Sustainability

    In September 2021, Greystone Books published The Ocean’s Whistleblower. It is the first authorized biography of Daniel Pauly, a truly remarkable man. Daniel Pauly is a living legend in the world of marine biology. And he lives in British Columbia. Among his many contributions is the Shifting Baseline Syndrome. This is a foundational concept. And it goes to the heart of the vision for intergenerational collaboration.

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    LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “Part of the reason for the success of our shared responsibility way of thinking is a result of the efforts of various organizations who have managed to successfully engage governments, developers, the community, academia, etc., in water-centric thinking, planning and development activities. In many jurisdictions, water-centric has become a focus and part of our daily conversations,” stated John Finnie, Past-Chair (2006-2011), CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island

    According to John Finnie, the Partnership for Water Sustainability challenges its audiences by posing this question: what do you want this place to look like in 50 years? The decisions communities make today will ripple through time. We do have a choice – will it be cumulative impacts or cumulative benefits? Looking back, 2008 was a defining year for ‘designing with nature’ on Canada’s west coast. The government of British Columbia put in place a policy framework that is a ‘call to action’ on the part of local governments.

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