Friday, July 17, 2015

Allan Savory Quotes (Founder of Holistic Management)

Allan Savory is a brilliant man. I guess you could call him an ecologist.  It doesn't matter.  He stumbled upon a way to reverse desertification, and help build a genuine economy through wise use of livestock. He originated what he calls Holistic Management defined on his institute's page as
"a process of decision-making and planning that gives people the insights and management tools needed to understand nature: resulting in better, more informed decisions that balance key social, environmental, and financial considerations. 
In the context of the ecological restoration of grasslands worldwide, managers implement Holistic Planned Grazing to properly manage livestock — mimicking the predator/prey relationships in which these environments evolved."

I wholeheartedly encourage ordinary people, especially the young to familiarize themselves with these insights provided by Savory and others, for example those of the Permaculture movement, and other ecologists or soil scientists. They deal with the very heart of civilization, economy, poverty, globalization, and many of our modern temporal problems. We simply have yet to understand the crucial importance, not to mention our physical connection to the soil, to grasslands, trees, plants, animals, water, the Sun and our collective harmony in working together. We have to learn how to synthesize. What is happening subsumes everyone and everything.

A third of the Earth's landmass surface is grassland and 70% of that grassland is now degraded due to greed, poor planning, unwise decision making that lacks foresight, as well as horrific modern industrial agricultural practices. But it doesn't have to be this way. There are wise and highly skilled ways to live in harmony with the way the Holy Father established our Earth. We need the Earth. We need our ecosystems functioning optimally in order to have peace and a halfway decent life not to mention all the things we take for granted in culture. In order for this to happen, people have to undergo what Pope Francis calls an ecological conversion. And be forewarned you might just fall in love with plants and animals; the soil, and come to love the Earth and appreciate her potential abundance and appreciate what God has provided for us so meticulously. That is the worst harm that could come from all this.

Although many individuals, including scientists, are embracing ideas like Savory's, mainstream establishment won't disseminate until public opinion changes.

Here are some quotes from Savory from books and interviews:

There is only one option, I'll repeat to you, only one option left to climatologists and scientists, and that is to do the unthinkable, and to use livestock, bunched and moving, as a proxy for former herds and predators, and mimic nature. There is no other alternative left to mankind. 
only livestock can reverse desertification. There is no other known tool available to humans with which to address desertification that is contributing not only to climate change but also to much of the poverty, emigration, violence, etc. in the seriously affected regions of the world. 
Eroding soil is the biggest single export from the U.S., billions of tons outweighing all grain, timber, military hardware and commercial products–even with the greatest know-how in the world. Where there used to be soil cover there is none and all soil cover comes from life. Once there are exposed soils there is erosion, non-effective water cycles, mud slides off California, ever increasing floods in Texas and along the Mississippi. These floods and this flood damage will just get worse and worse and worse and the deserts will just keep advancing, advancing, advancing until somebody, someday finally understands what I’m saying. 
The cycles of life are birth, growth, death, and decay, commonly known as a carbon cycle. When biodiversity is lost the cycle is broken. Overgrazing is due to the time of exposure of the plant to the animal and re-exposure of the plant to the animal. When a plant is grazed it is given a few more years of life. “Severe grazing,” says Savory, “is absolutely essential to maintain biodiversity. 
When scientists stopped the overgrazing of plants by fencing exclosures, the plants all grew, reports were produced, and government regulations and laws were written. Then the scientists went home. “Thank God the plots remained. If you study them today you will find enormous evidence that rest doesn’t work in brittle environments. There is biodiversity loss, soil erosion. Births have stopped, the carbon cycle stopped, everything is going to hell. We’ve removed pack hunter and we’ve removed herding prey and the whole breaks up. It’s a disaster. 
Next is dying villages and towns. People settle with their families in an area with high biodiversity and they are prosperous in farming and ranching. They form towns, villages, businesses, churches, schools. Then biodiversity starts to go. A butterfly has gone. A bird has gone that used to be there. Old ladies in tennis shoes draw attention to it and we deride them; we are worried about jobs and our cattle and farms. As the biodiversity continues to be lost, so we start to lose farmers and ranchers and the people are not sympathetic. ‘Joe was stupid, he was greedy, he overstocked.’ As the biodiversity loss continues, the population isn’t big enough to support the schools and churches. The villages and towns fold up. The people in cities are not sympathetic. It’s more workers for the factory. And as the biodiversity loss continues, finally, the cities fall. Throughout history, that has always happened. 
An explanation of the serious situation with mega-fires - affecting climate change – increasing mega-fires – speeding climate change on and on in one of nature’s positive feedback loops. I also saw a good documentary film about the problem. Once more we face the reality that institutional scientists are trying to address this explosive feedback loop relying on the two main tools humans have to manage our environment –fire and technology. A physical impossibility. And our mainstream institutions continue to reject using the one thing that can break this loop – livestock with Holistic Planned Grazing. Only increasing public awareness can lead to institutional change. But this is not emotional so never goes viral as it needs to if our millennial generation is to have any hope.

Closing remarks: Poor use of cattle, not to mention conventional civilizations has contributed to loss of biodiversity and desertification over the past thousands of years. So one has to be skilled and make good decisions for everyone involved, not just the human community but all the members of the ecosystem.

But its kind of hard to argue against the fact that the predators alone have done a much better job of taking care of the Earth as humans. The herds just need a little guidance and they can beneficially process the Earth. They can help build soil, mildly till to get air and water into the soil, spread seeds, cut grass before it dies, spread bacteria crucial to soil, and they tap into the carbon cycle. You need that top of the chain, and humans can mimic this wisely. Nature is highly ordered. It seems like chaos to a shallow or untrained mind, but there is this profound unity. The Holy Father conceived it, but we are the ones who seem to be darkened and not see it all. Predators are essential. They are kings. They force the herd, bunch them up, and keep them on a schedule that is beneficial to the entire animal and plant kingdoms.

The modern scientists use three tools to restore ecosystems, namely, fire, rest and technology. But these are all proving to fail over the long run. It is clear that we need to use animals. Just think of the Western United States prior to the immigration of the Europeans. It was covered in rich top soil, feet of it, due to the Buffalo population continuously working the land for God knows how many years. And then the greedy white man comes along and sucks it dry with no long term provisional plan to regenerate the soil. Now there are millions of acres of wild preserves that are failing due to lack of biodiversity not to mention the cycle of ravenous greed practiced by industrial agriculture, enslaving animals and polluting the land. The bottom line is we need to start using animals wisely.
So what Savory offers is a new tool, or a new way of understanding that can be adopted, but it seems that it takes some imagination, thinking, planning, patience and practice. This is not a quick fix. And this is not something that one can practice thoughtlessly. One has to become like a king, like the lion. And people need to band together with some common education and goals.

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