Meat production is a well know contributing factor to climate change. Livestock is a major source of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, as well as a large factor behind deforestation. Many have argued that a necessary step in mitigating climate change is a change in diet to eat less meat (O’Callahahan). However, Allen Savory offers a comprehensive solution to climate change by doing just the opposite. In his research, he has found that it is possible to safely sequester large amounts of carbon, and reverse desertification though the use of livestock. The approach is a plan to mimic nature through what he calls “holistic planned grazing.” The livestock (usually cattle) are bunched tightly together to till and fertilize the soil, turning the dry land into productive grasslands (Savory).
Each acre of land is able to sequester one ton of carbon per year through the increased bio-productivity, and there are 12 billion acres of land worldwide available for holistic planned grazing (Sacks).That means that it is possible to sequester 12 billion tons of carbon each year (the equivalent of 6ppm) (Sacks). According to his calculations this process has the potential to return the atmosphere to pre-industrial levels (280ppm) within thirty years (Sacks). That rapid of a change is astounding.
The process of all nations reducing their emissions enough to make an impact on climate change will be a slow one, even if aggressive action is taken. The possibility of this radicle mitigation approach through livestock is incredibly astounding and hopeful to me.
You can watch his ted talk below:
O’Callahahan ,Jonathan. “Eating meat is causing ‘dangerous climate change’, claim scientists.” Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 1 Sept. 2014. Web. 24 Sept. 2014. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2739143/Less-meat-key-food-security.html
Sacks, Adam D.. “The Fight Against Global Warming: A Failure and A Fix.” Savory Institute . N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2014. <http://swelterdesigns.com/climate_articles/the%20fight%20against%20global%20warming%20-%20a%20failure%20and%20a%20fix%20r13%20-%20short.pdf>.
Savory, Allan . “How to fight desertification and reverses climate change.” TED2013. TED. Sustain!, Long Beach. 27 Feb. 2013. Speech.