Last week in The Guardian, L. Hunter Lovins offered a thoughtful defense of holistic management: “Why George Monbiot is wrong: grazing livestock can save the world.” Lovins was responding to George Monbiot’s previously published critique of Allan Savory’s 2013 TED Talk (“How to fight desertification and reverse climate change“).
“In his recent interview with Allan Savory, the high profile biologist and farmer who argues that properly managing grazing animals can counter climate chaos, George Monbiot reasonably asks for proof. Where I believe he strays into the unreasonable, is in asserting that there is none.
Savory’s argument, which counters popular conceptions, is that more livestock rather than fewer can help save the planet through a concept he calls “holistic management.” In brief, he contends that grazing livestock can reverse desertification and restore carbon to the soil, enhancing its biodiversity and countering climate change. Monbiot claims that this approach doesn’t work and in fact does more harm than good. But his assertions skip over the science and on the ground evidence that say otherwise.”
He cites research by Richard Teague, a Dixon Water Foundation advisory board member, “finding significant soil carbon sequestration from holistic range management practices.” He also mentions several examples of successful holistic management practitioners, as well as studies by soil microbiologist Dr. Elaine Ingham:
“Peer-reviewed research from Rodale [Institute] has shown how regenerative agriculture can sequester more carbon than humans are now emitting. Scientists, as well as dozens of farmers, ranchers and pastoralists from around the world, describe how they are increasing the health of their land, the carrying capacity of it, its biodiversity, and its profitability, all while preserving their culture and traditions…
…I’d invite [Monbiot] to come out on the land, see with his own eyes and learn from those who are healing grasslands while producing food, fibre and community prosperity.”