Allan Savory on Using Livestock to Address Desertification

This TED talk from biologist/environmental/”holistic manager” Allan Savory addresses the growing problem of desertification of grassland ecosystems by suggesting a radical solution– using “livestock mimicking nature.”


He’s talking about putting tightly packed, roaming, grazing herds on land in order to work to reverse the effects of desertification. Livestock have long been blamed for environmental degradation, but Savory has a concept that would use these grazing herds in a strategic fashion and his facts and figures are convincing.

This, to me, is an example of the kind of gray area thinking that is really necessary in the food activist movement. The answer is not no livestock or livestock, but how the livestock is being managed. Of course, the kind of immobile and chemical-laden techniques that govern industrial livestock production has a devastating impact on the ecosystem, but Savory (loving the food name…) has a plan that requires a paradigm shift. Roaming herds could not be a part of the food industrial complex as it is, but could contribute to local food economies in highly effective ways.

It’s also nice to hear a scientist talk about the social impact of their theorizing and Savory does a lovely job connecting poverty, hunger, and climate change…

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