BY: LINDA SECHRIST
How Cows Can Help Reverse Climate Change
When concurrent dangers arising from overpopulation, desertification (fertile land turning to desert) and climate change were just beginning to attract technological solutions, pioneers like Allan Savory, a young wildlife biologist in Zimbabwe, Africa, were researching how healthy soil captures carbon dioxide and stores it as carbon. It’s the way nature renders the most pervasive greenhouse gas more helpful than harmful and a major reason why this is not happening globally is because of desertification.
This innovative game-changer has since received Australia’s 2003 Banksia International Award for “doing the most for the environment on a global scale” and the 2010 Buckminster Fuller Challenge, recognizing solutions that address humanity’s most pressing problems. The Savory Institute, founded in 2009, and its Africa Center for Holistic Management, demonstrate how using livestock to improve soil and decrease dependence on water—plus increase its ability to hold moisture and carbon—grows more grass and improves profits for ranchers, landowners and investors.
What prompted your examination of soil biology?
In the 1960s, I first became alarmed at the rate of land degradation in Africa’s vast grasslands, which were turning to desert. Looking for a solution, I hit upon a profound relationship—that the grasslands, their soils, soil life, plants and animals had evolved symbiotically with large, grazing herbivores of many species and pack-hunting predators. As my inquiry led beyond Africa, I noticed that the same was true of similar ecosystems worldwide, including those of the U.S. Great Plains. READ MORE