Desertification is the process in which fertile land slowly turns into sand-filled deserts. It’s happening all around the world, and increasingly so in the United States. It’s a direct result of poor environmental decisions, livestock grazing, and landowner neglect. The good news is that it’s also reversible and preventable.
Allan Savory, a research biologist and President/Co-Founder of the Savory Institute, recently gave an inspirational TED talk about healing our land. His background on the subject is impressive, and should give us pause to heed his words. In the 1960’s while working in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), he came to understand what causes land degradation, and now he presents us a solution.
One of his ideas is called “Holistic planned grazing.” Essentially, it’s the process of moving larger herds to lands in need and planning their grazing patterns. An example he gave in his talk was of an area of land in Africa that had gone four months with just rain and no land tending. He then showed a picture of the land after four months of holistic grazing in which they increased the amount of livestock by 400% and created a grazing pattern that mimicked nature.
Savory goes on to provide further examples of his holistic grazing success, and shares how it’s possible to bring this strategy to every affected area on Earth. He even suggested that restored soil could actually bring us back to pre-industrial atmospheric levels.
None of Savory’s ideas are too outlandish or overly expensive. In many cases, extra livestock wouldn’t even be needed to fix the land. Rather, a change in grazing patterns and other land tending is all that would be necessary.
This is less a matter of deciding whether or not we should act, and more about making an immediate action that will affect the future of our planet. Desertification is real, and it is rapidly becoming a problem of catastrophic proportions. Thanks to Allan Savory’s research, we may have a chance yet of effecting change.
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