So you liked the Paul Harvey-narrated video that aired during the Super Bowl – So God Made a Farmer? Made you feel good to be involved with agriculture – even if the moment was fleeting.
Rejoice! There is a new video circling the Internet, one that promises to hold a nation’s attention span longer than 15 minutes because the content is more than just some warm fuzzy about salt-of-the-Earth folks who produce food. This new video is about solutions – and about dispelling some exaggerated myths about livestock production.
The star of this new video is Allan Savory, a soft-spoken Zimbabwean biologist, farmer and environmentalist who has spent a lifetime studying and practicing techniques that combat desertification around the globe. In fact, he’s built a career and a business challenging what many consider facts about livestock – that they’re bad for the planet and contribute to climate change.
On the contrary, Savory says, livestock are a solution to climate change and an effective means by which to fight hunger, poverty and violence across much of the Third World.
Savory’s speech was presented at the 2013 TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) Conference, a global set of conferences owned by the private non-profit Sapling Foundation, formed to disseminate “ideas worth spreading.” Founded in 1984, TED now sponsors an annual conference in which speakers are given 18 minutes to address a wide range of topics within the research and practice of science and culture. Past presenters include Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Malcolm Gladwell, Gordon Brown and many Nobel Prize winners.
Savory’s idea “worth spreading” is that removing grazing animals from an ecosystem promotes desertification. Indeed, he argues, the cause of desertification is the absence of grazing animals. To heal the land and slow climate change, he says, grazing animals must be returned to areas in peril of desertification, which may include two-thirds of the world's grasslands.
Those ideas are not just a hunch, an unproven theory that Savory promotes. He has proof, compiled over a lifetime of study and practice. You have to watch the video to fully comprehend this powerful message.
Savory began working on desertification in his native Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 1955. He is credited with developing Holistic Management, a systems thinking approach to managing resources that builds biodiversity, improves production, generates financail strength, enhances sustainability, and improves the quality of life for those who use it. Holistic management offers a new decision-making framework that managers in a variety of enterprises, cultures, and countries are using to help ensure that the decisions they take are economically, socially, and environmentally sound, simultaneously—both short and long term.