Did you know that on nearly one third of the planet’s surface, deserts are threatening to gobble up grasslands? It’s called desertification. It’s blamed on many things, with everything from mono-culture commodity agriculture to global warming named as culprits. While it’s true that the slow transformation of the world’s dry lands into arid lands has a long history (desertification is blamed for the end of both the Grecian and Roman empires), it’s also true that it’s rapidly increasing at a rate that’s threatening at least a billion people world wide. Last year one of my heroes, Allan Savory, gave an amazing talk at a TED conference about a radical solution to re-green the world’s deserts and reverse desertification: holistic management of grazing cattle. That’s right! Grass-fed cows can save the planet.
Desertification: A Real Threat
It’s not just about the environment. Desertification creates a downward economic spiral. As the land becomes more arid, it’s no longer able to support the same number of people that it did in the past. As a result, massive numbers of rural people migrate into urban areas. Unfortunately, the influx of “unskilled” workers results higher unemployment rates and the growth of slums. And, lest you think desertification only threatens third-world countries, you can see how the United States is affected, too:
Grass-fed cows can reverse desertification?
It almost seems counter intuitive. One of the primary causes of desertification is over-grazing, so how could holistic grazing reverse it? That’s where Allan Savory’s talk comes in. Allan is the president and co-founder of the Savory Institute, an organization whose mission is to heal the land through large-scale restoration of grasslands. Their goal is to empower others by teaching them about holistic management and helping them implement on the ground changes within their community to reverse desertification. The talk is so powerful, I wanted to share it with you all.
Watch the video!
(top photo by nebarnix; bottom photo courtesy of Wikimedia)