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Shifting Baselines Syndrome

    Know Your History and Context to Offset Generational Amnesia


    To know where you are going, you need to know where you have come from. Otherwise, as Daniel Pauly observed in 1995 when he published a short but influential paper about the “Shifting Baselines Syndrome”, baselines shift when successive generations of practitioners do not have an image in their minds of the recent past. Know your history. Know your context. These are keys to overcoming generational and organizational amnesia.

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    KEEP CALM & CARRY ON: Words of wisdom from UBC’s Dr. Daniel Pauly, the world’s top fishery scientist, provide perspective during difficult times


    “It’s not a question of gloom or hope. People ask you: pessimist or an optimist? What does it mean if I tell you I am an optimist or a pessimist? You don’t know what I’m going to do. But what we need to do is what Winston Churchill told England what it had to do to fight Nazism. We will fight them on the beach and fight them on the hills and we’ll fight them. That speech is the answer to the question. Churchill never told people whether he was an optimist or a pessimist. Churchill didn’t know if the Germans were going to cross the English Channel. It is beside the point,” stated Daniel Pauly.

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