Friday, March 25, 2011

The Brown Revolution is Savory

As with the human body, it takes the cooperation of millions of individual, sentient intelligences devoted to the common good of the whole organism for Life to prosper. Recognize the blessings of Water with Love & Gratitude!

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Savory Institute
The Brown Revolution

The Green Revolution, based on high input, industrial agriculture (massive inputs of petro-chemicals and herbicides, monoculture cropping, and confinement animal feeding operations), has increased global food production tremendously, but has tended to severely degrade its ecological and socio-cultural capital base in the process. The Green Revolution has not been characterized by ecological or social integrity—quite the contrary. Horrific soil erosion, dead zones at the mouths of rivers, severely depleted levels of biodiversity, impoverished rural communities, soil fertility loss, and oxidation of soil organic matter have been exacerbated by the Green Revolution.

A New Way Forward

The good news is that this can all be reversed, and this is the task in which Holistic Management practitioners have been engaged for the past 40 years. We posit the necessity of a new “Brown Revolution”, based on the regeneration of covered, organically rich, biologically thriving soil, and brought to fruition via millions of human beings returning to the land and the production of food.

The more humid/biologically productive regions of the world will have to develop agricultural models based on small, biodiverse farms, imitating the natural, multi-tiered vegetation structures of these environments. This is where most of the grain, fruits, nuts, and vegetables will be produced, as well as most of the dairy products, and some of the meat. Based on the premise of ecological integrity, these farms, as units of management, will necessarily be small and highly diverse. The decision making framework of Holistic Management has an essential role to play in the evolution and management of these models in these types of environments, but many others are working on and developing the practical know-how, insights, and production models that will be adapted in these more humid environments. 

Answers From Allan Savory

Holistic Management practitioners are more versed in the other two thirds of the world—the grasslands, rangelands, and savannas. These are environments that co-evolved in the presence of large grazing herbivores, in conjunction with their pack-hunting predators, and they are characterized by seasonal or erratic rainfall, and extended periods of the year with very low atmospheric and soil humidity. The presence of these large herbivores, interacting with their landscapes the way nature intended, is critical. Via the skillful practice of holistic planned grazing, we can effectively mimic this behavior, reversing land degradation, and generating solar-based profit in the process.

The implications of taking this management approach to scale are massive. Slight increases in soil organic matter, over these huge extensions of the earth’s land surface area, will result in the permanent, safe, and natural sequestration of many gigatons of carbon. In effect, we would be putting masses of carbon back where it belongs—in the soil—and more importantly, where it can actually do some good. Organically rich soils feed soil bacteria, protozoans, and fungi, active populations of which lead to ever greater plant-available nutrients and less and less dependence on outside fertilizer inputs. Soils that are high in organic matter also possess greater water holding capacity, thereby increasing drought resilience and regenerating aquifer and ground water reserves critical for cities and communities throughout the globe.

In the process of doing this—in effect, mimicking nature—there is no creation of “waste” (the waste actually becomes an asset), input costs are dramatically reduced, animals tend to be healthier and more productive, and attractive profits (based on ecological integrity, or true wealth, derived directly from the sun) are the result. Of course, we also are producing nutrient-dense, pasture-produced protein—exactly what our Paleolithic, hunter/gatherer-evolved physiology is designed to consume.

Through partnerships with like-minded investors and our global network of tried and tested Holistic Management practitioners, The Savory Institute is actively directing capital into the Brown Revolution. Multiplied over billions of acres, these partnerships will play a critical role in arresting climate change and averting global catastrophe. Contact the Savory Institute to learn how to be a part of it.


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