There is a lot of debate around whether to eat or not to eat meat. I believe the question is not about the actual consumption of the meat, but more about how the animals are raised and how this affects not only their lives but the health and livelihoods of all of us and the planet.
Grazing animals are an integral part of land health. Without proper use and management of them, the grasslands become literal deserts.
I first learned about the Savory Institute some years ago and have donated on a monthly basis ever since.
The Savory Institutes mission is to facilitate the large-scale regeneration of the world's grasslands and the livelihoods of their inhabitants, through holistic management. Properly managed livestock are key to healthy grasslands, which…
- absorb and store carbon in soils,
- teem with water and a biodiversity of species,
- provide nutritious, healthy foods, and
- create economic abundance for farmers and ranchers.
Scroll to the bottom to see the TED talk Allan Savory gave over 9 years ago where he lays out a comprehensive plan to combat climate change. It is based on returning our grasslands back to what they once were, using grazers.
If we lived here in Petaluma 150 years ago or so, and we were standing at the Casa Grande house up on the hill at the end of Casa Grande Road, we could have looked towards the ocean and seen a sea of elk. The hills moving like water with animals across an endless expanse of grassland. The elk kept in tight herds by mountain lions, wolves, and bears and coyotes.
Obviously we can't return to that exact scenario. But, we can recreate it on our farms & ranch lands.
"In the context of the ecological restoration of grasslands worldwide, managers implement Holistic Planned Grazing to properly manage livestock – mimicking the predator/prey relationships in which these environments evolved."
This has a cascade of effects including the return of water, native species, a change in the overall climate in the area, and the return of native species - and the sequestration of carbon back into the soil!
Here are a few images from the Savory Institute's website showing before and after photos of their work using rotational grazing and regenerative farming practices.
Karoo Desert, South Africa. Left side of the fence restored using rotational grazing.
Zimbabwe 2007And here is the TED talk that inspired me so many years ago.
We have quite a few ranchers in the Sonoma + Marin County areas. Stemple Creek, Rusty Hinges, Hamilton Brothers to name a few. If you do choose to eat meat, please consider seeking out a ranch that practices sustainable regenerative agriculture. It's better for the beasts. Better for our health. Better for the planet.
I hope this gives you a great deal of hope for our future. xo