We all know the planet is in trouble, or at least it is for critters like ourselves and who knows how many species. It’s easy to target big oil, and they (along with us) have their part to play. But there’s also big agriculture. And a whole lot of good intentioned bad science.
Joanna Macy, who years ago taught me to find my grief for our world, says this on her website:
The most remarkable feature of this historical moment on Earth is not that we are on the way to destroying the world — we’ve actually been on the way for quite a while. It is that we are beginning to wake up, as from a millennia-long sleep, to a whole new relationship to our world, to ourselves and each other.
Three places that wakeup is actually happening
Back in March, 2013, TED posted a video called Allan Savory: How to fight desertification and reverse climate change. He’s a slow speaker, but his 22 minute message is profound, and one he’s been trying to get across to folks for decades. He’s recognized and promotes a way to stop desertification which stops evaporation by restoring ground cover. But his solution is surprising. Most of us believe that livestock is the primary cause. Not true! In fact, large herds of animals can be the solution. And do it in a way that mimic’s nature. Check out the Savory Institute.
How about fish? Ninety percent of our fishing stocks have crashed… take that in. And fish farming, with one exception, isn’t working. It pollutes and farming fish generally takes more food or protein to feed the farmed fish than it produces – hardly sustainable. On the other hand, there’s a 20,000 acre fish farm in Spain that works, and not just for fish. Chef Dan Barber’s TED talk, How I fell in love with a fish, shows how it can be done sustainably and produce really good, healthy, tasty fish and support the whole environment there. It’s awesome to see what else is sustained there. Interestingly the only additional article I could find about this miracle is at Al Jazeera, Veta La Palma – ‘Algae-Culture’ fish farm.
What these three places have in common
As I watch these videos, and I’ve watched each several times, it seems to me that what they have in common is the success they demonstrate addressing major problems comes because natural processes have been restored.
Savory shows us that we can reduce, even eliminate desertification and all its inherent problems by using livestock to mimic the ancient herds of large critters who originally roamed those areas.
The fish farm at Vita La Palma restored the water flow and let nature take its course, knowing that’s what would work best for growing fish. Mimicking nature again.
And restoring the wolves to Yellowstone has actually changed a river, helping it back into its natural healthy state. Who knew! Well, Native Americans knew and we (white Europeans) didn’t listen and still don’t very often, to, I believe our detriment.
These three places also provide a breath of optimism.
What would happen if we began to replace antibiotic driven filthy feed lots with letting cows graze? The same with chickens and pigs and fish.
What if before we developed another acre of land we stopped and thought about what we were doing from nature’s point of view, with the birds, and snakes, and worms, and fungi in mind?
It seems to me, it might be a matter of getting out of our own way – of recognizing we’re not at the top of the heap, but part of the whole.
It’s something to think about.
What do you think? Am I out of my mind or do these vids point in a solid direction? What other info do you have that I don’t? Let’s talk about it in comments.
Love, blessings, and abundance,
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