Guilty Planet

Archives for April, 2009

As Mark Powell (of the Ocean Conservancy) pointed out in the comments of the last post, Roger Rufe of the Ocean Conservancy said that we need to “use ocean wilderness to lead a new way of thinking about and seeing our oceans through a positive conservation lens, rather than an extractive one.” And also that…

In an extension of first shifting baselines post where Randy Olson and I argued over whether to continue eating seafood, I wrote a guest post last week for The Reef Tank titled What happened to your clients? Um. We ate them. It begins: “So. What happened to our fish?” asks The Future. “Um. Well. We…

I know that the year is far from over, but Loren McClenachan, who works with Jeremy Jackson at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, has what I believe is the shifting baselines story of 2009. Just to review from the old shifting baselines days, the shifting baselines syndrome implies that there is some sort of change…

Obama on Guilt

…it was the one trick my mother always had up her sleeve, that way she had of making me feel guilty. She made no bones about it, either. “You can’t help it,” she told me once. “Slipped it into your baby food. Don’t worry, though,” she added, smiling like a Cheshire cat. “A healthy dose…

Green Guilt at a Low

Jared Flesher discussed this week A Decline in ‘Green Guilt’ at the NYTimes Green Inc. Blog. Some groups attribute the decline to the fact that Americans are doing more for the environment (more people are carpooling and planting gardens, especially with the economy in its present state) but Flesher gets to what is likely the…

Call it religious, call it effective (or ineffective), call it trite. The fact is, there is a lot of guilt-laden language in the conservation movement. Because this will help lay the foundation for future discussions, I wanted to present some examples here. Guilt-free flying and guilt-free vacations are now possible with the emerging market for…

Back in 2005, I interviewed fisheries biologist Daniel Pauly for a small article on seafood consumer campaigns. This would evolve into the work we do today. I was not able to publish large chunks of the transcripts then, but I am now. I think what Daniel said about average vs. extreme consumers was relevant, particularly…

Albinos Not Safe After All

I mentioned in my last post that humans love rare things, but not necessarily albinos. As Justin pointed out in the comments, that is not exactly true. White-skinned albinos are hunted by other humans throughout eastern and central Africa because they believe their body parts will add potency to black magic rituals. Pink dolphins are…

Two new experiments from French scientists show that humans love rare things. Not rarities, as in oddities, as in albinos. But rare things as in: not many of them left. That is bad news for many animals and conservation efforts. Hypothesis: Humans love rare things. Even if they are not really rare. Experiment 1 (online…

Welcome to Guilty Planet

“We are all parasites,” a friend recently remarked as our train moved past the graffiti covered walls of Berlin. “Anyone who does not understand this–or thinks that somehow the good that they do in this world outweighs the bad–is delusional.” She is a scientist working for the UK Energy Saving Trust, which markets a low…