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Old 02-29-2012, 06:35 PM
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Default Shifting baselines (oceans, avatar)

Daniel Pauly: The ocean's shifting baseline | Video on TED.com
Daniel Pauly talks about the phenomenon of shifting baselines in context of the oceans. He also makes a short Avatar reference - recommending that it should deal with the oceans (which as we know most likely will be so).

What he says is that we are getting used to something that is utterly impoversished and call it "natural" because we forget or mistrust older reports. If explorers to north America described salmon runs that lasted for days and that knocked you from your feet if you happen to stand in them - or passenger pigeon clouds that darkened the sky for hours, or that whales are a serious risk for ships because there are so many - then we all think this is fairytales. But it may just be shifting baselines.

The talk is funny but sad. When they pulled up that net full of trash because there was more trash on the ocean floor than living things, I almost dried

And if you have time, here is a second talk of the same conference on a similar topic, showing how much was lost already:
Paul Snelgrove: A census of the ocean | Video on TED.com
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