The Grazing Revolution: A Radical Plan to Save the Earth
“If Allan is right, then we may have to completely rethink life on the plains. The message is an extraordinarily powerful one, and it could be the best thing, the absolute best thing that conservation has ever discovered.”
- M. Sanjayan, Host, Earth: A New Wild
Last week an extraordinary new series debuted on America’s Public Broadcasting Service network – EARTH: A New Wild, that features, in Episode 2 – “The Plains” – an interview in Zimbabwe with Allan Savory.
Allan shares his key insights, core to his life work, and tells how livestock can beproperly managed to restore the land and wildlife, as the cameras show how it’s done on the Savory Institute’s first Hub and learning site near Victoria Falls – theAfrica Centre for Holistic Management. The film crew continues onward to the Russian steppes showing how the loss of the vast herds of Saiga antelope have resulted in millions of acres of desert, then on to the Norwegian tundra where the land remains healthy because of the large herds of reindeer managed by the Sami people. Then to Yellowstone Park in the U.S. where the re-introduction of wolves that keep elk bunched and moving has restored riverine areas damaged for years by sedentary elk that had no fear of predators.
At each point, the series host, Dr. M. Sanjayan, who served as lead scientist at The Nature Conservancy during the filming of the series, builds a case for the need of a radical rethink on conservation and the role of humans and their livestock in keeping environments productive and functional.
When Sanjayan and the crew stop in Montana’s Centennial Valley at the J Bar L Ranch, managed holistically for over a decade by ranch manager Bryan Ulring, the film shows Bryan herding the cattle, playing the role wolves once did in keeping vast bison herds bunched and on the move. The move of animals is done following a well thought out, complex, and ever changing Holistic Grazing Plan. What’s more, the grasslands are rich and productive and birds that are endangered elsewhere are thriving on the ranch.
Sanjayan candidly admits what so many holistic managers have longed to hear from a highly esteemed conservation scientist:
In a million years, I never thought that cows could be so beneficial for the wildlife I love . . . As an ecologist I was taught that people, and especially their livestock, are the enemy of wildlife, but my journey from Africa to the Arctic to here in Montana, is forcing me to rethink everything I know about conservation.
Earth: A New Wild – Worldwide
Currently, this episode is only licensed for viewing in the U.S. but we’re told it will soon air worldwide on the National Geographic International channel. However, the name of the series will change to: Man and the Wild (with possible variations depending on the country and language).
To date we’ve been given advance notice of the following:
- Singapore: 16 February
- France: 18 February, 5:20pm (“L’Homme au Coeur de la Nature”)
- United Kingdom: 5 March