Posted on March 6 2013
"Desertification is a fancy word for land that is turning to desert," begins Allan Savory in this quietly powerful talk. And terrifyingly, it's happening to about two-thirds of the world's grasslands, accelerating climate change and causing traditional grazing societies to descend into social chaos. Savory has devoted his life to stopping it.
"Again, I am at fault as much as any scientist because it was my research that first led to culling large numbers of animals in national parks. When we first set aside some of the most wonderful wildlife areas in Africa as future national parks I observed that they rapidly began to lose biodiversity and desertify. Believing we had too many elephant, buffalo, etc., it was easy to gather the supporting data to fit our paradigm and recommend culling. This unpalatable suggestion led to intense resistance and the government formed a team of ecologists to evaluate my work. They agreed with me and in Zimbabwe we subsequently shot some 40,000 elephants, only to see the problem become worse! I was wrong, as were those who approved of my work."