Support the Arctic Sea Ice Forum and Blog

Author Topic: Generational Amnesia  (Read 4408 times)

vox_mundi

  • First-year ice
  • Posts: 5525
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 2636
  • Likes Given: 443
Generational Amnesia
« on: August 22, 2020, 12:23:43 AM »
Younger Generation Fail to Notice Environmental Decline Due to Generational Amnesia
https://phys.org/news/2020-08-younger-environmental-decline-due-amnesia.html

Young people are not as aware of environmental changes compared to the older generation, according to a new report by Royal Holloway, University of London and international conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society London) due to a phenomenon known as shifting baseline syndrome (SBS).

The UK-based paper showcases a reduced awareness of issues such as the decline in bird biodiversity and abundance within their area compared to several years ago—meaning vital naturalist knowledge is being lost over generations without people noticing.

This worrying gap in knowledge and perception surrounding environmental data and conservation needs between the older and younger generation could hinder efforts to emphasize the urgent need for conservation action for declining species.

SBS describes a persistent downgrading of perceived 'normal' environmental conditions with every new generation, leading to under-estimation of the true magnitude of long-term environmental change on a global scale.

... "There needs to be more intergenerational communication about the environment and conservation issues. People tend to compare current ecological conditions to reference points set within their own experience, forgetting or ignoring valuable historical information. This research supports the need to encourage greater intergenerational communication and increase experience of local nature. Knowledge of past environments is critical to evaluate current conditions, comprehend change and set effective conservation targets for the future. Discovering evidence of SBS in public perceptions of animal and bird species experienced within everyday life demonstrates that this is a pervasive social issue, not only in niche contexts such as fisheries, but in public perceptions of local nature."

... By focusing on more recent timescales, we at more at risk of losing perspective on the true magnitude of long-term environmental change, as historical environmental information is lost over time and people do not notice.



Lizzie P. Jones et al. Investigating the implications of shifting baseline syndrome on conservation, People and Nature (2020)
https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/pan3.10140
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

nanning

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2448
  • 0Kg CO₂, 37 KWh/wk,125L H₂O/wk, No offspring
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 258
  • Likes Given: 20971
Re: Generational Amnesia
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2020, 08:06:17 AM »
Important article imo. Shifting baseline syndrome is very strong and dangerous and it operates on whole groups.

It will be difficult for yougsters to imagine car front windows and car bumpers/numberplates full of splashed insects.
They probably also can't imagine a world without mobile phones and Internet.
Same as today's parents who can't imagine a world without TV, take-away food and without personal cars for everyone.

Perhaps it's a good plan to include landscape and biodiversity of 50ya in history/biology lessons.
And in economy classes show the country's make-up from before privatisations and globalisation. Infrastructure, care system, education, advertising, house prices, durable clothes natural materials, food production etc.
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
"It is preoccupation with what other people from your groups think of you, that prevents you from living freely and nobly" - Nanning
Why do you keep accumulating stuff?

Aluminium

  • Grease ice
  • Posts: 941
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 793
  • Likes Given: 471
Re: Generational Amnesia
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2020, 09:36:00 AM »
It will be difficult for yougsters to imagine car front windows and car bumpers/numberplates full of splashed insects.
Insects have problems but sometimes...

vox_mundi

  • First-year ice
  • Posts: 5525
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 2636
  • Likes Given: 443
Re: Generational Amnesia
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2021, 06:56:56 PM »
the language that you use changes the way that you perceive the world ...

Decline In Languages Leads to Decline In Indigenous Biological Knowledge
https://phys.org/news/2021-06-decline-languages-indigenous-biological-knowledge.html

Around the world, more than 7,000 languages are spoken, most of them by small populations of speakers in the tropics. Papua New Guinea (PNG), where nine million people speak 850 languages, is the most linguistically diverse place on Earth.

Unfortunately, a new study of secondary school students in PNG shows that the ability to speak Indigenous languages is declining precipitously in the younger generation. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was led by Alfred Kik, a postgraduate student from the Western Highlands of PNG, the first ever PNG researcher to lead a paper in the journal.

UConn's Robert Colwell, Distinguished Research Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Emeritus Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor and a coauthor of the study, served as an international evaluator of Kik's Master's thesis at the University of PNG, the basis of the study.

"I've been involved with this group studying the geography of languages, because one of my specialties is biogeography, or the geography of life. I got involved in geography of languages as a geographical modeler of biodiversity, which is not the same by any means," says Colwell. "However, it's strangely coincidental that the most biodiverse places on earth, like Papua New Guinea, are also the most linguistically diverse places."

Tok Pisin, an English-based language serving as PNG's lingua franca, and English, the language of formal education, are replacing Indigenous languages. Kik and his collaborators tested more than 6,000 secondary school students from PNG speaking 392 languages. He found an unexpectedly rapid decline in their language skills. Only 58% of the students, compared to 91% of their parents, were fluent in Indigenous languages. This process is driven by an increasing share of mixed-language families, where each parent speaks a different Indigenous language, as well as life-style changes, particularly urbanization.

Declining language fluency is accompanied by loss of traditional skills including hunting, fishing, growing staple crops, house building from forest materials, and medicinal use of plants. The gradual loss of languages also leads to declining traditional knowledge of rainforest plants and animals.

The surveys in 30 secondary schools revealed these schools are a focus of extraordinary language diversity. As an extreme example, 381 students at the Lae Secondary School spoke 126 different PNG languages. Only one third of students speak the same Indigenous language as their best friend at school, suggesting that friendships are formed with low regard to the students' language identity. This trend may also lead to further increase in mixed-language families in the future, accelerating the loss of languages.

Colwell adds, "A very large proportion of New Guinea people live on their own traditional land in their own language area. They grow crops, they use native plants from the extremely rich rain forests, many of medicinal or other cultural values. To know which plant to use in which situation is crucial knowledge. Knowing the names of useful plants and local birds in the language of their parents shows us whether these high school kids are maintaining not just language, but also traditional knowledge."

This knowledge lives on through the Indigenous languages. Fortunately, a large majority (88%) of students want to teach Indigenous languages to their children, appreciating their cultural significance rather than practicality. While crucial for keeping languages alive, this intention faces powerful external pressures as key factors (education, cash economy, road networks, urbanization) associated with language decline are valued in contemporary society, in PNG and elsewhere.

Alfred Kik et al, Language and ethnobiological skills decline precipitously in Papua New Guinea, the world's most linguistically diverse nation, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2021)
https://www.pnas.org/content/118/22/e2100096118

------------------------------------------

The Language You Speak Changes the Colors You See
https://qz.com/1454466/your-language-influences-your-color-perception-says-a-new-study/amp/

There wasn’t an English word for the color “orange” until 200 years after the citrus fruit of the same name arrived in Europe. Before then, the color was called by the two other colors that, when mixed, make orange: “yellow-red.”

This is just one striking example of the ways in which color categories are shaped by culture. Ancient languages, including Greek, Chinese, Hebrew, and Japanese, didn’t have a word for blue. And Russian speakers have two distinct category words for light blue vs dark blue: Something is never “blue,” in Russian, it’s either “siniy” (dark blue) or “goluboy” (light blue.) ...

https://www.bps.org.uk/news-and-policy/your-native-language-affects-what-you-can-and-can%E2%80%99t-see

--------------------------------------------

The Role of Language In Shaping Our Thoughts
https://universityobserver.ie/the-role-of-language-in-shaping-our-thoughts/

I did, I do, and I will do. English is a language with tenses – the past, the present and the future. However, there are also “tenseless” languages, such as Mandarin. In a recent TED talk by Keith Chen, a Chinese American Behavioural Economist, he posits that speakers of these languages are much better at making decisions, whether this be decisions with regards to saving money, or decisions about health, such as smoking habits. The researchers conclude that tenseless speakers often perceive their life as a continuum – as one unit, and as such, there is a great focus on the impact of their decisions now on themselves in the future. Thus, they are more mindful in making decisions being reminded of the impact this decision may have on their future selves.

In numbers, researchers have found that Chinese-speaking children are much better at math at an earlier stage in life than English-speaking children. The reason for this can be found in the numbering system of the two languages. In Chinese, the system is quite clear and transparent – the number 11 is simply “ten one”. Meanwhile, in English, 11 is “eleven” – a whole new word to add to the child’s vocabulary. This proves more difficult as the child has to learn a whole new word which is not a natural extension of the words it has previously learned.

... In a study conducted on Spanish-Swedish bilinguals, the researchers found that bilingualism can alter your perception of time. They noted that people who speak two languages perceive time “more fluidly” than those who speak one language. In English, time is described spatially, as if one is walking along a path – something happened a “while” ago. Meanwhile, in languages like Spanish, time is described volumetrically – a “big” moment. In their study, the researchers concluded that bilinguals tended to be more readily able to switch between the two concepts of time and as such, they had a more flexible approach to thinking about time. They thus concluded that time is not one universally understood concept in one manner, but instead, interpretations are shaped by language.
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

etienne

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 1237
    • View Profile
    • About energy
  • Liked: 207
  • Likes Given: 4
Re: Generational Amnesia
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2021, 07:50:33 PM »
Somebody once worked on "Documenting loss of large trophy fish from the Florida Keys with historical photographs"
https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Documenting-loss-of-large-trophy-fish-from-the-Keys-McClenachan/e80261c927409255d35f1acfb9c0641278e4bb70
Pictures are dated 1957, beginning of the 1980's and 2007.

I remember a press article discussing these pictures as example of generational Amnesia, but the concept is not in the study itself.

vox_mundi

  • First-year ice
  • Posts: 5525
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 2636
  • Likes Given: 443
Re: Generational Amnesia
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2021, 08:12:27 PM »
^ 40 yrs ago i could catch 2-5 kg bluefish, surf-casting into schools of over 1000 everyday during the summer. Now, a 0.5 kg fish is a catch of the week. All the baitfish have been harvested for pet food. Kids think this is normal.

Your Weather Tweets Are Showing Your Climate Amnesia
https://www.wired.com/story/subtle-weather-shifts-might-make-climate-change-hard-to-see/
https://grist.org/article/your-weather-tweets-are-showing-your-climate-amnesia/amp/

A database of 2 billion tweets shows people get so used to weather extremes they might stop noticing them. That's bad for action on climate change.

« Last Edit: June 03, 2021, 08:19:40 PM by vox_mundi »
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

gerontocrat

  • Multi-year ice
  • Posts: 11690
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 4034
  • Likes Given: 32
Re: Generational Amnesia
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2021, 10:27:16 PM »
Once upon a time I had a book entitled " The History of Cod ", with quite a bit on the early days of cod fishing in the Newfoundland Banks.

So sad.

"Para a Causa do Povo a Luta Continua!"
"And that's all I'm going to say about that". Forrest Gump
"Damn, I wanted to see what happened next" (Epitaph)

vox_mundi

  • First-year ice
  • Posts: 5525
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 2636
  • Likes Given: 443
Re: Generational Amnesia
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2021, 11:08:09 PM »
then and now ...


1940 tuna fishing

... now, 99% are gone

A Japanese sushi tycoon has paid a whopping $3.1m (£2.5m) for a giant tuna making it the world's most expensive. Kiyoshi Kimura bought the 278kg (612lbs) bluefin tuna, which is an endangered species, at first new year's auction in Tokyo's new fish market.

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-asia-46767850
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late