Allan Savory: How to green the desert and reverse climate change

allan savory
Allan Savory is a Zimbabwean biologist, farmer, soldier, exile, and environmentalist, who created the concept holistic management.

Desertification of the world’s grasslands, Allan Savory suggests, is the immediate cause of poverty, social breakdown, violence, cultural genocide - and a significant contribution to climate change.

It is a fancy word for land that is turning to desert, says Savory in this quietly powerful talk. And it’s happening to about two-thirds of the world’s grasslands, accelerating climate change and causing traditional grazing societies to descend into social chaos. Savory has devoted his life to stopping it. He now believes - and his work so far shows - that a surprising factor can protect grasslands and even reclaim degraded land that was once desert.

In the 1960s, while working in Africa on the interrelated problems of increasing poverty and disappearing wildlife, Savory made a significant breakthrough in understanding the degradation and desertification of grassland ecosystems. After decades of study and collaboration, thousands of managers of land, livestock and wildlife on five continents today follow the methodology he calls “Holistic Management.” This method, however, has had its fair share of criticism from some scientists, who say it lacks scientific data. Watch on to find out more.

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