Changing the views of desert & livestock

What is your attention span? Mine – especially for videos – is usually around 2 minutes. And that’s only if it’s good and I don’t skip on before it’s over.

This video I’m posting about today is 22:20 and it felt like only 2 minutes.

There is a new video circling the Internet (I found it through the Drovers CattleNetwork article), 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.”

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 financial 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.

You can read about (and watch!) our family ranch’s intensive, holistic grazing practices here.

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