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Old 03-07-2013, 10:47 PM
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Default How cattle can save the world (TED talk)

This was a very inspiring talk on how reintroducing cattle can promote grasslands, stop desertification and feed people in areas that are too dry to do agriculture. Bad news for vegans, I guess, but good news for the climate and Nature

Allan Savory: How to green the desert and reverse climate change | Video on TED.com
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Old 03-07-2013, 11:35 PM
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That would be a very slow process, but I guess sounds fine otherwise.
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Old 03-09-2013, 09:22 AM
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I dont remember exactly now, but i think in some of the examples he gave in the talk, it took just very few years to have visible impact. Of course milage varies, so it would not wark fast always, but he seems to have more solid theories behind that, so I guess he would also be able to predict how long it would take in a certain area.

And I think it makes a lot of sense. After all, the plains that are now desertifying once were home to incredible numbers of grazing animals and they did not cause desertification. As so often, the web of life actually needs those animals to eat that grass, or the grass dies.
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Old 03-09-2013, 05:09 PM
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EDIT: I get tangential halfway through this post, apologies, but I feel it's still relevant, and I spent time typing it out, so I'm leaving it in.

What Savory is talking about is not new to science. He's talking about mimicking grassland's natural cycles, and it's been known to environmentally conscious farmers for years. The most environmentally sound organic farmers grow plants and animals together, modelling the interactions off of natural ecosystems, like grasslands that have evolved to cycle with grazing animals. Because of this these farmers don't need to use manmade fertilizers since they use various livestock as part of their varied crop rotation. Their lands cycle through nutrients naturally.

That's great and all, but this is not what is going on with most livestock raising. livestock factory farming contributes more emissions in CO2 equivalents than transportation, that's more than cars, trains and planes. I'm going to say that again: the cows we raise to eat in the US contribute more to global warming than cars. I got this information from the 2006 study by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN.

In Brasil not only is cattle not being used to rejuvenate deserts, farmers are clear cutting rainforest to make way for grazing pasture.

I'm not saying what Savory is doing is bad, cattle raising when used properly can help kickstart and propel natural crop cycles, but don't use this as a justification for overconsumption of meat.

I'll end this with a different TED talks video about meat consumption:
Graham Hill: Why I'm a weekday vegetarian
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Old 03-10-2013, 07:51 PM
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Yes, that is what I fear some people will do and it is why some people will attack him - because they do not see that what he says is that keeping herds of animals (cattle, sheep, pigs, ...) is great an sustainable and builds soil ONLY if it is done in a way that mimicks nature - and not by any of the other methods that clearly are the opposite.
Other people who do this in practice by the way are J. Salatin and Sepp Holzer (the latter does it with pigs). In a sense this is permaculture principles in action. But I liked the examples - some were really cool.

When looking at that, there was another one talk that was great:
Wade Davis: Gorgeous photos of a backyard wilderness worth saving | Video on TED.com
Its about Canada and why it needs help but also how beautiful it is. Help of cours ebecause of mining prospects. The speaker wants to ally himself with the indigenous people there against mining and development...
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"Humans are storytellers. These stories then can become our reality. Only when we loose ourselves in the stories they have the power to control us. Our culture got lost in the wrong story, a story of death and defeat, of opression and control, of separation and competition. We need a new story!"
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