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Cows Save the Planet: Foreword by Gretel Ehrlich

Cows Save the Planet: Foreword by Gretel Ehrlich

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Cows saving the planet? Why not? An idea that sounds preposterous begins to make sense when you take a soil’s-eye view of our current ecological predicament.
Cows saving the planet? Why not? An idea that sounds preposterous begins to make sense when you take a soil’s-eye view of our current ecological predicament.

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Published by: Chelsea Green Publishing on Apr 22, 2013
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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04/22/2013

 
Cows svethe Plnet
nd other ImProbblewys of restorIng soIlto hel the erth
UnmkIng the deserts, rethInkIng ClImteChnge, brIngIng bCk bIodIversIty, ndrestorIng nUtrIents to oUr food
JUdIth d. sChwrtz
foreword by gretel ehrlICh
 
– ix –
Foreword
Going to Ground
 W 
e
“ 
go to ground
 ”
when exhausted
by disaster or war, when weneed to restore ourselves, look natural beauty in the ace, and nourishourselves by growing ood; we go to ground to seek solace. Now, as wend ourselves acing a grave threat to civilization—the global emer-gency o climate change, desertication, and habitat destruction—we would be wise to go to ground to nd how we might survive.
Ground 
in this sense represents not only basic sanity, but actual soiland all the lie-giving processes that emanate rom it. Nature is matrix and embrace. Photosynthesis is oundational, our only true wealth. Without it, we devolve. Poor land leads to poverty, hunger, socialunrest, cultural deprivation, inhumanity, and war. So we must wonder why the biological health o the planet is not our number-one priority.In our careless, destructive, and proprietary ways, we have ignoredthe biological requirements o the living planet, and as a result o ourneglect and abuse ground has become, alternately, a hot plate, a des-ert, a crumbling sea cli, and a foodplain. Judith Schwartz’s book gives us not just hope but also a sense that we humans—serial destroyers that we are—can actually turn the cli-mate crisis around. This amazing book, wide reaching in its research,oers nothing less than solutions or healing the planet. Almost thirty years ago I was asked by 
Time 
magazine to writeabout visionary thinkers in the American West. One o those I chose was wildlie biologist, game rancher, and restoration ecologist AllanSavory, now in his midseventies and ounder o the Savory Institute, who gures prominently throughout this book.Savory, at age twenty, was put in charge o wildlie in a large part o Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). In those years he began puzzling over the root causes o habitat destruction, and the needs o wildlie,domestic livestock, and humans living together on the land.
 
x
Cows save the Planet 
 To have ollowed Savory rom his days in the bush, through the hor-rendous civil war during which he commanded a tracker combat unitand led the opposition against the racist government o Ian Smith, andon to his eventual emigration to the United States, is to have watcheda man thinking and rethinking through the problems o how to healthe earth.Now the recipient o many awards and millions o dollars in und-ing rom international sources, to help put things right in places likeKenya, Australia, the United States, Mexico, and South Arica, Savory provided the initial “kick in the ass” or many younger many ranchers,armers, ecologists, and scientists. The people Schwartz interviewed orthis book aren’t theorists; they practice what they preach.
  •    
Since I met Savory in the 1980s, the health o the planet has deterio-rated seriously. Too ew paid attention or took action. We now have aglobal emergency on our hands: climate change and the deserticationo the earth’s surace.Savannas are drying, Arctic coastlines are being eroded by retreat-ing ice and stormy seas, dry northern valleys are being pummeled withunseasonal rain ollowed by drought. Tundra around the top o the world is melting; rain orests are drying; the great Australian drought isspreading to its verdant edges. Tree mortality, especially rom Mexicoto the Yukon, is rampant, and aquiers are being drained. The jet stream has been destabilized, and weather systems have become chaotic. Deep winter cold or searing heat sticks in one placeor prolonged periods, with no clearing winds sweeping it away. As aresult, storms pound down and cause unthinkable destruction. We’ve been watching the shocking rise o greenhouse gases in ouratmosphere: CO
2
and methane rom smokestacks and tailpipes, romthawing permarost, and rom thermal heating o the oceans that causesmethane clathrates to rise in plumes straight out o the East SiberianSea. We’ve experienced the devastation o violent storms: hurricanes,tornadoes, and typhoons, as well as wildres and foods. Yet we ail tomake sense o it, because too ew o us have an intimate relationship with the natural world—as i we were something other than “nature.”

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