U.N. University-IAS’s (UNU) Robert Blasiak had the opportunity to interview Allan Savory during several bus rides in Nairobi. The following quotes are excerpted from those interviews – please visit the UNU’s OurWorld magazine for the full transcript. Many thanks to Mr Blasiak and U.N. University for allowing us to reprint their content here.
Robert Blasiak: Rapid desertification is a scary prospect and many people point to livestock as a main driver of this process. Can you talk about holistic management and why you see livestock as part of the solution?
Allan Savory: …before humans killed off most wild herbivores, rainfall effectiveness and health of grasslands was maintained by masses (billions) of large herding animals with bunching behavior as protection from pack-hunting predators. Bunching, even where no migration occurs, ensures movement off of dung and urine fouled ground, so constant movement led to trampling, grazing, dunging and urinating thus maintaining overall soil cover and grassland health.
RB: Aside from the direct environmental benefits you have found through holistic management, can you talk about the implications for climate change?
AS: The implications for climate change are profound. Frankly, when we combine all the unintended consequences of agriculture today, it is causing climate change as much as, and possibly more than, fossil fuels. And yet mainstream institutional scientists are advising that agriculture will need to adapt to climate change!
There are so many confusing views and pressures. There are so many vested interests — financial and professional egos — that the world is understandably confused. Only if we put the entire issue of biodiversity loss, desertification, climate change on a “war footing” where it is no longer what we want to do but what we must do — as Paul Gilding recently described in his book “The Great Disruption” — have we any hope of avoiding catastrophe beyond imagination. This is why at the Savory Institute we are striving to get the holistic framework into international consciousness as rapidly as we can to avert tragedy.
What is desertification and how does Savory Institute work to combat its effects? Find out on the Desertification Crisis page on our Web site.