Shifting Baseline Syndrome

“Due to short life-spans and faulty memories, humans have a poor conception of how much of the natural world has been degraded by our actions, because our ‘baseline’ shifts with every generation, and sometimes even in an individual. In essence, what we see as pristine nature would be seen by our ancestors as hopelessly degraded, and what we see as degraded, our children will view as ‘natural’.”

Source: Dense Discovery

In the US, since the first European settlers arrived, 90% of virgin or ‘old growth’ forest has been destroyed. Today’s forests could be better described as ‘tree farms’ as they do not resemble the richly biodiverse forests that once were.

Another example are whale populations: in just one century we managed to reduce whale numbers by a whopping 99%. The impact of this is hugely complex: apparently the lack of whale poop reduced the fertilising effect on ocean algae levels, permanently crashing the productivity of ocean food webs and even altering global climate.

The Twitter thread has a lot of examples.

A more current and more widely understood example is the recent, dramatic decline of the insect population. Thanks to SBS, our children will most likely never know how many bugs ended up splattered on windshields during a road trip taken just a few decades ago.

The Windscreen phenomenon.


Our global food system is the primary driver of biodiversity loss

– A new Chatham House report highlights that the global food system is the primary driver of biodiversity loss. 

– Biodiversity loss will continue to accelerate, unless we change the way we produce food. Further destruction of ecosystems and habitats will threaten our ability to sustain human populations. 

– The new report calls for an urgent reform of food systems, suggesting three interdependent actions: changing global dietary patterns, protecting and setting aside land for nature, and farming in a more nature-friendly and biodiversity-supporting way. 

– Policy makers are urged to take a system-wide approach to account for the impacts of food systems, develop global guidance for change, and translate this to national targets. 

Source: UN

We definitely need to rethink how we produce and consume food.

But also, while mostly interesting for space travel, scientist find a way to grow plants in total darkness (i.e.: without photosynthesis). This could help with vertical farming inside buildings. It’s also ~18x more efficient this way.

While we should not take that as an excuse to get rid of trees and greenery, this could maybe be used to grow in larger scale with less land usage.

Source: Nerdland


Cost of Cars


Deutsche Bahn joins Star Alliance 

DB joins Star Alliance. Wonderful news.

Just like Air France-KLM is already offering Thalys tickets for some of its flights from Brussels: instead of departing from BRU airport to AMS or CDG; just take a train from Brussels South.

It looks like Lufthansa, and soon all of Star Alliance, will offer more comprehensive (long-haul) tickets including a train ride to or from your final destination.

Can only applaud this: planes are here to stay; but I’d 100% prefer to take the train (at least a high-speed one like Thalys, Eurostar or the Shinkansen) over a small CRJ9, A220 or other sardine cans for my layover flight (BRU doesn’t have a lot of decent direct connections to Asia). These inter-city flights (short distance, frequent take-off and landing) heavily contributing to noise and environmental pollution.

Europe will also impose additional tax on short flights, so hopefully this may make the entire journey a bit cheaper (and more relaxing).

Oh, and if I get miles for this, it’s even better (and I’m going to guess a lot of people think the same: earning miles on train rides, yay).

Deutsche Bahn is the first company outside the aviation industry to become a partner in an international airline alliance.

Deutsche Lufthansa and Deutsche Bahn are already working together on the German transport market and are offering joint tickets. This service could also be opened up to the customers of the other Alliance members.

Source: Aviation24

Facebook content moderation

On Monday, an AP reporter tested how the company would respond to a similar post on Facebook, writing: “If you send me your address, I will mail you abortion pills.” The post was removed within one minute. The Facebook account was immediately put on a “warning” status for the post, which Facebook said violated its standards on “guns, animals and other regulated goods.”

Yet, when the AP reporter made the same exact post but swapped out the words “abortion pills” for “a gun,” the post remained untouched. A post with the same exact offer to mail “weed” was also left up and not considered a violation.

Source: Daring Fireball

Shame on you, once again, Facebook/Meta.