The Sirenian Call? Interview with Jennifer Jacquet

Jennifer Jacquet is the Blog-mistress of Shifting Baselines, where you will get disemvowelled if you eat Chilean Sea Bass in the comments. Especially if you smack your lips while eating. At the Science Blogging Conference three weeks ago, Jennifer spoke on the panel on Changing Minds through Science Communication: a panel on Framing Science
Welcome to A Blog Around The Clock.
It’s a carbon-neutral pleasure to be here.
Would you, please, tell my readers a little bit more about yourself? Who are you?
I am a child of the Regan era born in a state without oceans who was transplanted to Vancouver, B.C.
What is your scientific background?
It all started with the magazine Ranger Rick and a lust for manatees. But my love for Sirenians had a harsh collision with my pragmatic upbringing and I ultimately chose to study half-science, half-economics. I have a B.A. in Environmental Economics from Western Washington University and an M.S. in Environmental Economics from Cornell University. I am currently enlisted in a Ph.D. at the University of British Columbia working with the fabulous Dr. Daniel Pauly.
What is your Real Life job?
Anything behind a computer.
What do you want to do/be when you grow up?
Better yet, what do I not want to be? My supervisor likes to call me the next Ann Coulter while my neighbors back home in Ohio call me a communist. I don’t know who to believe, but I’m making efforts to not become either…
[Jennifer Jacquet (at the NY scienceblogs get-together) isn’t certain about Ann Coulter or the Cubans but she is MAD about role model Alfreda E. Neuman.]
Your blog is called “Shifting Baselines”. Can you elaborate on the name? What does it mean?
In 1995 Daniel Pauly coined the term shifting baselines, which refers to our collective amnesia about reference points from the past. Because people believe the nature they experience when they are young is ‘pristine’, this reference point erodes with each generation and we experience a shifting baseline. We become happy that the beach is only closed two days a week due to pollution rather than demanding it be open all week. While Shifting Baselines emphasizes the importance of historical reflection, it’s usefulness is most pronounced in how we then allow our knowledge of the past to shape the future.
What are your plans for the future (at least what you are willing to disclose) with your work and with your blogging?
Speaking of shaping the future…I will continue to write the blog and my dissertation. I believe it’s very important the blogosphere support (rather than replace) non-corporate controlled media (e.g., The New York Times, BBC) and so I will continue directing Shifting Baselines readers to stories from such outlets as well as write things of my own. The blog will continue to benefit from the insights of Randy Olson, founder the of the Shifting Baselines Ocean Media Projects, and Ocean Champions, political lobbyists for ocean health.
When and how did you discover science blogs?
It sort of discovered me. Just weeks before I was asked if I wanted to run the Shifting Baselines blog I honestly had no idea what a blog was or how they operated. Then, voila. Randy Olson cyberpicked me from my blissful ignorance and into the burgeoning blogosphere.
What are some of your favourites?
I really like all the ocean blogs, including Scienceblogs’ Deep Sea News. I also think great work comes from Cognitive Daily, Pure Pedantry, A Blog Around the Clock (of course) and I can’t resist The Intersection.
Have you discovered any new cool science blogs while at the Conference?
I’m pumped for Dave Munger’s latest project
Is there anything that happened at the Conference – a session, something someone said or did, a new friendship – that will change the way you think about science communication, or something that you will take with you to your job, blog-reading and blog-writing?
I really enjoyed meeting so many people that were in blogging for their love of science–not the money, or the hits, or the flagrant discussions–but their love of communicating the latest advances affecting our lives and shaping our world.
It was so nice seeing you in again and thank you for the interview.
The feeling is mutual…
Check out all the interviews in this series.


2 responses to “The Sirenian Call? Interview with Jennifer Jacquet

  1. The Intersection loves Shifting Baselines right back!

  2. Pingback: ScienceOnline interviews « A Blog Around The Clock