Comfortably Unaware Refutes Savory TED Talk
Comfortably Unaware refutes Savory TED talk on reversing desertification and feeding the world through intensive livestock grazing
Article Excerpt: Introduction to Saving the World With Livestock—The Savory Approach Examined by Dr. Richard Oppenlander, Comfortably Unaware
I heard about the Allan Savory TED talk in February 2013. Many environmentalist meat eaters, such as OCA’s Ronnie Cummins, were excited about it, because to them it meant that they could keep on eating meat and still be responsible environmental stewards. I thought it smelled like bulls**t, so it probably was, but I was overwhelmed by Other Things Happening, so I didn’t pursue it.
Until today, when I got an email from Comfortably Unaware about Dr. Oppenlander’s article, clicked the link and raced through a clear refutation of the idea that you can fix a problem by applying more of what caused the problem in the first place i.e. excessive cattle grazing and deforestation to feed the growing world wide demand for meat.
Over to Dr. Oppenlander
Intro to The Savory Approach Examined:
A number of hurdles obstruct the path of evolution toward more sustainable, peaceful food production systems. One such hurdle is the perpetuation of belief that sustainability can be achieved if we simply modify our current animal production systems.
Many authors, scientists, and organizations are happy to spread this message and have ample perceived public platform to do so. This invariably leads to distortion of reality, suppression of facts, and an appeased global audience still clinging to some form of justification for eating meat.
With two annual conferences and worldwide acclaim, the TED talks have brought audiences “Ideas Worth Spreading” since 1984.
During one of these talks in February 2013, which garnered a standing ovation, Allan Savory—a Zimbabwean biologist, farmer, and environmentalist—argued that grazing livestock is the answer to our global population explosion, climate change, and restoring the many lands that are turning to desert.
In his twenty-two-minute talk, he dramatically built the case that two-thirds of the world is desertifying (becoming desert-like with the loss of all topsoil and fertility) and that the only option we have to solve this “perfect storm” is to “do the unthinkable—to use livestock bunched and moving as a proxy for former herds and predators to mimic nature. There is no other alternative for mankind.”
Mr. Savory uses these profound remarks to introduce us to his work with the Savory Institute and their attempts to restore desertified grasslands with what he calls “holistic management and planned grazing”— essentially a form of short-term grassland management or intensified rotational pasturing techniques, now employed by many grass-fed operations and permaculturists.
According to Savory, using large herds of cattle “addresses all of nature’s complexity and our social, environmental, economic concerns.”
Savory’s TED talk was compelling and certainly provided what all carnivores wanted to hear (hence, the standing ovation). Nevertheless, it was riddled with inconsistencies and unsupported claims, and it suppressed key information in a calculated manner.
Read the rest of Saving the World With Livestock—The Savory Approach Examined by Dr. Richard Oppenlander, Comfortably Unaware