Shifting Baseline Syndrome

What is Shifting Baseline Syndrome?

Coined by Daniel Pauly in 1995, while speaking of increasing tolerance to fish stock declines over generations, SBS also has roots in psychology, where it is referred to as ‘environmental generational amnesia’. Simply put, Shifting Baseline Syndrome is ‘a gradual change in the accepted norms for the condition of the natural environment due to a lack of experience, memory and/or knowledge of its past condition’

Reference https://earth.org/shifting-baseline-syndrome/


Tweet from @BiodiversitySoS (2021) – image source unknown



Permaculture – a tool for changemakers


Permaculture is a design tool that is based on 3 ethics:

  • Caring for the Earth,
  • Caring for People,
  • Fair Share (reinvestment of surplus), sometimes referred to as Future Care.

It is a tool used to design regenerative, abundant environments that respect climate, nature’s patterns and flows, while providing for human and non-human needs. It is always based on observation and following nature as the greatest teacher.

As well as these 3 foundational ethics, permaculture design is based on many principles of sustainability such as:

  • Produce no waste!

  • Catch and store energy

  • Use and value renewable resources

  • Respond creatively and positively to change

  • Use and value diversity

  • Use and value the margins and the marginal

Learn about Permaculture as a tool for Sustainable Food Production here by doing the MOOC Everything Gardens available on www.ccivs.org/ilearn

You can also read and learn more about permaculture here from one of the founders, David Holmgren.


Here is a link to a great video showing the 12 principles in action https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mwRAf3z9ag&vl=en

And here is an example of how one man is using Permaculture to change the urban environment where he lives to become a healthier, inclusive and greener neighbourhood https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7t-NbF77ceM&t=32s

Permaculture for Regenerative Culture


Permaculture has expanded from an agricultural and food growing tool, to being used in many different areas of regenerative culture:

There is an enormous amount of information from permaculture practitioners all around the world. If you would like to get involved, try to find your local Permaculture projects or people and connect to the network where you are!

Ecosystem Restoration & Agroecology

We need acts of restoration, not only for polluted waters and degraded lands, but also for our relationship to the world. We need to restore honor to the way we live, so that when we walk through the world we don’t have to avert our eyes with shame, so that we can hold our heads up high and receive the respectful acknowledgment of the rest of the earth’s beings.”

Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass

Ecosystem Restoration. Some say this is the work of our time: to restore the habitats and environments that sustain all life on this living planet. We live during a time where habitat loss, species extinction and pollution of the water, soil and air is at an all-time global crisis. There is no doubt that human industrialized activities are using more resources and producing waste products far faster than the Earth´s living systems are able to process at this time. The complex web of living organisms that hold the balance in place are under threat.

From mangrove swamp replanting projects, coral reef restoration, reforestation projects, holistic management and agoecoligcal farming practices to wildlife conservation, green corridors and rewilding projects – thousands of people all around the world are taking action to heal our planet.

Many projects are underway that aim to restore these natural ecosystems. You can watch and learn about some of the largest ones here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tpozw1CAxmU

There is a global movement called Ecosystem Restoration Camps started by John D. Liu, that connects many projects working on the ground to restore nature.

Read more about it here: https://ecosystemrestorationcamps.org/

Beach and River clean ups are being arranged globally by groups of people who get together to remove plastics and waste materials from waterways and beaches to enable the natural ecosystem to restore itself.

There are also many people using agroecological practices to restore environments while also producing food:

Permaculture : an ethical framework for holistic design

Holistic Management: mimics natural processes to increase carbon in the soil using intense and moving grazing livestock animals and natural diverse processes

Regenerative Agriculture: aims to rebuild soil biodiversity while producing food, using techniques that include diversification of crops, use of cover crops, natural living soil amendments that support soil microbiology and fungal network growth, minimum till and natural integrated pest management strategies.

Analogue Forestry: imitates the old grow forest patterns to include species that provide a yield for communities who live within these forest areas

Syntropic Agriculture: a layered and intercropped technique, that involves producing all natural inputs onsite by maximising photosynthetic processes using plants

Water retention landscaping: the work of Sepp Holtzer and his students to reshape landscapes to maximise the available water and heal the full water cycle . They advocate for using the last fossil fuel we have left to heal the Earth and the water cycle, so that other systems like soil loss, deforestation, etc can also be healed.

Watch more here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vik4vUN3SPI

This is by no means a complete list, and you are encouraged to research and join those in your local area taking action to restore biodiversity and life!



Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity has used all the biological resources that Earth regenerates during the entire year. The date changes each year, more information can be found here:

​​ https://www.overshootday.org/

There are obvious reasons that we need to stop consuming and using the Earth’s resources faster than they are produced!

The question to consider is also who is using these resources and for what purpose?

Degrowth is a radical economic theory born in the 1970s.

What is degrowth? Degrowth broadly means shrinking rather than growing economies, so we use less of the world’s energy and resources and put wellbeing ahead of profit. The idea is that by pursuing degrowth policies, economies can help themselves, their citizens and the planet by becoming more sustainable.

(Source https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2022/06/what-is-degrowth-economics-climate-change/)

Degrowth is a term used for both a political, economic, and social movement as well as a set of theories that critique the paradigm of economic growth. It can be described as an extensive framework that is based on critiques of the growth-centered economic system in which we are living.

Source Wikipedia


A ‘degrowth’ strategy could cut CO2 emissions by 2050 more deeply than alternative economic growth strategies. Image: Nature Communications

The unfair distribution of wealth and consumption of natural resources by the global north is something that is of great concern. Climate justice activism and Degrowth form an important role in the transition to a fair, respectful, ethical and sustainable Living Earth.

Degrowth also forms part of the discussions regarding a paradigm shift: from an anthropocentric worldview – that says humans are the top and centre of life on this planet- towards an ecological systems worldview that acknowledges the value of the relationships between all living and non-living organisms on this planet, where humans are just part of the web of life, and dependent on its balance and healthy functioning.

Image source: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2022/06/what-is-degrowth-economics-climate-change/


Deep Ecology


Deep ecology is an environmental philosophy that promotes the inherent worth of all living beings regardless of their instrumental utility to human needs, and the restructuring of modern human societies in accordance with such ideas. Deep ecology argues that the natural world is a complex of relationships in which the existence of organisms is dependent on the existence of others within ecosystems. It argues that non-vital human interference with or destruction of the natural world poses a threat therefore not only to humans but to all organisms constituting the natural order.

(Source https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_ecology)

The term was first used by Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess who wrote that deep experience can lead to deep questioning (and vice versa) which leads to a deep connection or commitment. He became an environmental activist and believed when people were deeply connected to nature they would no longer be willing to cause harm.

The Deep Ecology Platform:

(Source: Foundation for Deep Ecology)

The wellbeing and flourishing of human and nonhuman life on Earth have value in themselves (synonyms: inherent worth; intrinsic value; inherent value). These values are independent of the usefulness of the nonhuman world for human purposes.

Richness and diversity of life forms contribute to the realization of these values and are also values in themselves.

Humans have no right to reduce this richness and diversity except to satisfy vital needs.

Present human interference with the nonhuman world is excessive, and the situation is rapidly worsening.

The flourishing of human life and cultures is compatible with a substantial decrease of the human population. The flourishing of nonhuman life requires such a decrease.

Policies must therefore be changed. The changes in policies affect basic economic, technological, and ideological structures. The resulting state of affairs will be deeply different from the present.

The ideological change is mainly that of appreciating life quality (dwelling in situations of inherent worth) rather than adhering to an increasingly higher standard of living. There will be a profound awareness of the difference between big and great.

Those who subscribe to the foregoing points have an obligation directly or indirectly to participate in the attempt to implement the necessary changes.

Source https://medium.com/age-of-awareness/deep-ecology-9a9b8ae4caf7

Active Hope is waking up to the beauty of life on whose behalf we can act. We belong to this world.” Joanna Macy

A leader and activist in the Deep Ecology field and creator of The Work That Reconnects and Active Hope is Joanna Macy. The Work That Reconnects is a form of group work designed to foster the desire and ability to take part in the healing of our world. Since its inception in the late 1970’s, it has helped countless thousands of people around the globe find solidarity and courage to act despite rapidly worsening social and ecological conditions

Read more about her work here https://www.joannamacy.net/main

Read more about Deep Ecology here: https://medium.com/age-of-awareness/deep-ecology-9a9b8ae4caf7

Watch this short film of Satish Kumar speaking of Shallow Ecology, Deep Ecology, Reverential Ecology and Gaia https://youtu.be/MlmTLvHMg-g

Research is being done to understand the important role Deep Ecology has with preventing future environmental degradation: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/330437921_The_role_of_environment_clubs_in_promoting_ecocentrism_in_secondary_schools_student_identity_and_relationship_to_the_earth


Colonized minds 
and think of

Decolonizing minds
and feel


What is Decolonization?

The word “decolonisation” was first coined by the German economist Moritz Julius Bonn in the 1930s to describe former colonies that achieved self-governance. 

Decolonisation is now used to talk about restorative justice through cultural, psychological and economic freedom.

(Reference: https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-is-decolonisation-131455)


Decolonization is about “cultural, psychological, and economic freedom” for Indigenous people with the goal of achieving Indigenous sovereignty — the right and ability of Indigenous people to practice self-determination over their land, cultures, and political and economic systems. Colonialism is a historical and ongoing global project where settlers continue to occupy land, dictate social, political, and economic systems, and exploit Indigenous people and their resources. It is a global endeavor.

(Reference: https://globalsolidaritylocalaction.sites.haverford.edu/what-is-decolonization-why-is-it-important/)


Decolonization is more than thinking, it calls for action to deconstruct systemic violence! 


It calls (instead) for deconstructing settler-imposed systems that continue to oppress Black, Brown, and Indigenous people. Moves of settler innocence domesticate decolonization’s demands of undoing colonialism, eliminating its gendered and racialized hierarchies, and establishing Indigenous sovereignty. The danger of the decolonization metaphor (such as ‘decolonize your mind’) is that it prevents us from actually decolonizing. “It recenters whiteness, it resettles theory, it extends innocence to the settler, it entertains a settler future” rather than recentering Indigenous futures and sovereignty (Tuck and Yang 2012, 3, 35).

(Reference: https://globalsolidaritylocalaction.sites.haverford.edu/what-is-decolonization-why-is-it-important/)


To read more about decolonization and links to articles and tools:


Watch a short film called Land Back about the movement to reclaim Indigenous lands



Read about Decolonizing academia in South Africa here https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-01696-w


Deep Adaptation

Deep Adaptation is a concept, agenda, and international social movement. It presumes that extreme weather events and other effects of climate change will increasingly disrupt food, water, shelter, power, and social and governmental systems. These disruptions would likely or inevitably cause uneven societal collapse in the next few decades. The word “deep” indicates that strong measures are required to adapt to an unraveling of western industrial lifestyles. The agenda includes values of nonviolence, compassion, curiosity and respect, with a framework for constructive action.

Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_Adaptation


Read more about the founder of this concept here https://jembendell.com/category/deep-adaptation/

Watch a short video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAZJtFZZYmM

Join the forum here https://deepadaptation.ning.com/