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How to green the world's deserts and reverse climate change | Allan Savory

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"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. He now believes -- and his work so far shows -- that a surprising factor can protect grasslands and even reclaim degraded land that was once desert. TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design -- plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more. Find closed captions and translated subtitles in many languages at http://www.ted.com/translate Follow TED news on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/tednews Like TED on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TED Subscribe to our channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/TEDtalksDirector
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Text Comments (11037)
GozzFromAus (23 minutes ago)
In Australia we seem to be experiencing the same struggles. The farms are getting barren and grasslands turning into deserts. Our farmers have been selling their livestock in fear of the drought instead of increasing their numbers and utilising these techniques to mitigate the risks. I think this needs to be shared with all our rural farming communities. This is probably one of the most promising if not the only viable solution to stopping climate change in an economically viable and technically feasible way with minimal negative impact to our economic and political environment. Carbon tax is not the solution. Allan Savory has the solution and we need to listen. Thank you Allan, you have educated us and I will make sure to spread the word.
Jasmine Luxemburg (2 hours ago)
I think this counter intuitive situation illustrates how our culture is ignorant whilst considering itself educated. We are such a powerful force on the planet that we cannot afford to mess up on this scale. It also illustrates how we cannot afford to remain divided into uncoordinated nation states each pursuing policies oblivious to the collective results.. TED talks - how many Watch? In how many languages ? Humanity must solve these issues and quickly.
Ada Lorusso (3 hours ago)
This should be enforced in all countries
Antonie de Vry (3 hours ago)
Reverse climate change? Bollocks......sir you should be ashamed at spreading nonsense and scaring people.
Peter Jones (6 hours ago)
The scary part is there should be a new ice age coming along. High 'pollutant' levels causing global warming are 'preventing' the freeze. The re-greening is great but lowering CO/CO2 levels 'suddenly (in geological time even 1000yrs is sudden, 100yrs is 'nothing') could cause a much more profound freeze? Maybe scientists who actually 'care' should try working with people in related but different area's instead of becoming more and more specialised. Some of the 'Greenpeace' type groups could co-ordinate, if they could actually think instead of just reacting?
C. Michael Martell (10 hours ago)
This is genius. I’ve seen this effect myself and it does make a serious difference.
MAYFAIRREC Hadji (10 hours ago)
Thnku professor, well done sir
Bee Bob (11 hours ago)
And, why isn't this on PBS, CNN, FOX, and all the other news channels as a documentary. Here's a guy who actually is developing a plan to change the trend of desertification. Our leaders are just arguing that cows are causing climate change. So, AOC wanting to limit cattle around the world is incorrect. Glad to see the actual positive change to the environment. At one time I heard of desertification but never understood it. Now I have an idea of what needs to be done. I just subscribed to this channel and want more!
William Hickock (12 hours ago)
The Democrats in U.S. House want to get rid of all grazing animals. Better clue them in.
Leto85 (13 hours ago)
The part of the elephants shocked me. But at least he had learned from this mistake; such amazing results that using livestock can bring. The solution sounds so brilliantly simple.
Jeff Johnson (16 hours ago)
I put this right up there with "how to make a flat earth round".
Sylvia O Ireland (18 hours ago)
Replying to Really n,what other ideas like to hear them? God bless!
robert evans (19 hours ago)
this fellow is on point ! at last open minds taking ACTION
Gary Smith (21 hours ago)
The world needs to take notice of what Mr Allan Savory has to say about climate change .
Drbo DrBo (17 hours ago)
It's not so simple (ungrazed land won't just wither away and intensive grazing, which Savory wanst, actually worsens soil quality), it sounds like some miracle process, like organic farming and other not-so-great-when-you-look-at-them-closely: https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/2017-2-march-april/feature/allan-savory-says-more-cows-land-will-reverse-climate-change https://www.fcrn.org.uk/research-library/holistic-management-%E2%80%93-critical-review-allan-savory%E2%80%99s-grazing-method
Gary Smith (21 hours ago)
Its sad to see easy resolutions for problems man made ,but climate changers only look at tax,s so the rich can get richer , Pity all these so called climate scientist experts are just stupid dumb idiots.
Mike Gerrie (21 hours ago)
That is great!! Imagine that.... A bunch of pier reviewed papers completely wrong on the cause and effect of the problem with completely counter productive solutions implemented resulting in more harm than good. Carbon dioxide is not the driver of climate change . The real danger to planet is not our carbon footprint but our footprint in general that would include the pollutants out our tailpipes of our transportation. I believe we have had at least a full decade where the majority of money and resources has been focused on the wrong problem. Leading to a lag in tackling the true problem facing our planet right now. Unlike the warming trend it is something we can do something about. Over fishing and single use plastics is the single most clear and present danger to our planet. We can survive a warming planet with more CO2. I would actually argue that more CO2 is actually better for biodiversity than our current low carbon atmosphere but our footprint of single use plastics over the last 35 years is a very significant impact facing the oceans right now. I was a bag boy in a grocery chain when plastic grocery bags first came out. Plastic bags we seen as a eco benefit and alternative to paper that required us to cut down trees. We had the option at first of paper or plastic and those that still insisted on paper we looked at and thought to ourselves " what....,. don't you care about the environment" ? Plastics technology is amazing but single use plastic especially in areas where you are close to the ocean or countries that can not afford recycle technologies or even garbage pick up has in 35 years made a complete mess of the ocean and beaches of this world. We need to educate and limit the use of single use plastics especially where they are likely to get into the water. The other problem is the over fishing of the ocean. While the birth rates of Europeans and North Americans are going down, that is not the case in the rest of the world this is not necessarily a solved by increasing the wealth of a population as the driver for such large families can be in part at least religiously motivated. I'm sure the planet can sustain a larger population but clearly our oceans can not. I just wish we could shift the focus and the money from the non existing problem of CO2 and tackle the real problem which is over fishing and single use plastics. These two things would be very easy to fix without keeping pushing whole swaths of the worlds population into poverty by making energy too expensive.
DG de Vreugd (1 day ago)
Amazing! Thanks for sharing :)
Charles Barnett (1 day ago)
This ties in witu my own observations.As a farmer we produce milk organically. Since we went organic nearly 20 years ago our land has never been healthier. The diversity of life from the bottom up is profound. Our cattle, in my opinion have also never been healthier.
Charles Barnett (1 day ago)
As a foot note, with no chemical inputs the manure cycle and movement/msnagenent is imperative in the organic cattle rearing system.
pegasBaO23 (1 day ago)
So vegans were kinda wrong huh?
Nurul Ansari (1 day ago)
I feel sorry for south America, Brazilian rainforest is destroying at unprecedented pace.
will Crossley (1 day ago)
Have they taken into account the reflectivity of the planet will change if you make the light brown into dark green. This would make the earth absorb more radiation
Grace Collins (1 day ago)
Fighting the bureaucrats and so-called scientists in the battle to rehabilitate and drought-proof farmland in Australia. https://youtu.be/-4OBcRHX1Bc
toxic monsanto (1 day ago)
Actually mankind does have an alternative, he can continue on as he has and starve to death.
pecovgfx (1 day ago)
Or "how to stop fighting with nature and restore human's faith in earth's self healing power."
Rob Brown (1 day ago)
Isn't this the livestock owner who convinced the Government of Zimbabwe to slaughter many thousands of elephants because of his ludicrous contention that they were overgrazing the the natural ecosystem that supported them for millennia?
Grace Collins (1 day ago)
+Rob Brown, did you even bother to listen to his presentation?
Donnie Young (1 day ago)
makes sense....very fascinating
Robert Miller (1 day ago)
OMG!!!!!!!The real reason everything is happening is due to an affecting outside source. Nothing to do with us and absolutely nothing we can do to change anything of whats about to happen,  and it certainly dont help when THEY wont tell people the truth of whats out there. Just repeated disinformation. You're all about to have your jaws drop to the ground. And living in America the way we used to is about to permanently change, especially after the day USA splits in half and the old mississippi river becomes the new St Lawrence Seaway.
Brian Murray (1 day ago)
Maybe the best TED TALK I’ve ever seen.
Doug Hambone (1 day ago)
Even though I dont eat meat,I can see the logic in this. Working with nature.....love it!
jouni k (1 day ago)
humans burn forest and cut trees, area were first humans moved are deserts now, so it is humans job to make deserts forest again
James Robert Coyle (1 day ago)
By adding CO2 to the atmosphere we are greening the Earth. www.ecosense.me
Drbo DrBo (53 minutes ago)
+Bee Bob Well I'm not saying he is completely mad, but this idea of "the more CO2, the better for us", is just bullshit, even laymans must see that. Sounds too much like another of those conspiracy theories "I am only one smart enough, every other scientist is wrong"
Bee Bob (11 hours ago)
I would have to agree, but the CO2 is only one part of the equation. There are other factors and this guy seems to have the idea of how lands are changing and how to change them back.
Drbo DrBo (17 hours ago)
Yeah this is bullshit. Rise of CO2 at the start of pleistocene did help to create good conditions for life as we know it, but too much of it will destroy them. Yeah, some plant life will prosper with 1000 ppm of CO2, but humans and many other species won't. And that's what this climate crisis is about.
Michael McNeill (1 day ago)
Farmers like Joel Salatin have know intuitively that herbivores are essential for healthy life on earth. His family has been farming this way for 60 years and others much longer. Other cultures have done the same for millennia. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z75A_JMBx4
Looki Loo (1 day ago)
He killed thousands of elephants, he is trying to "solve" problems, that do not exist, trying to patronize everybody at 11:54, taking role of "expert" or "god" on himself. He did more harm to nature, than benefit. Please shut yourself and go plant tree.
Ricardo MAGARico (1 day ago)
The only way to stop this is complete acceptance of Agenda 2030.
JaiUneGuruDeja (1 day ago)
Makes me want to buy some dry land and fix it
Eight Ball Talkin' (1 day ago)
I assert with falsified evidence that a perfect storm is bearing down upon us. There is no question about it at all. Climate change is real and we don't need no stinking measurements. Ninety seven percent of scientists agree that this catastrophe is just around the corner. We know this to be true because we so thoroughly understand the environment that we are now capable of actually changing the raw measurements to make our models work. That's how good our models are. You might say, *we are gods* . You might be that gullible. I'm not.
lord fec16 (1 day ago)
Alex Clarke (1 day ago)
Humans can’t control the weather. The earth’s always had deserts, plains and forest far before people. The reason the animals are gone is because people were trying to control nature. I’m all for more grass fed steaks tho.
Deji Kay (1 day ago)
Wait what how many elephants did they kill?
sunil sehrawat (1 day ago)
40,000 elephants🐘🐘 lost their lives Think again if 40,000 human are killed by the animals 🐵🐔🐶🐷 to protect thier land
Danjo San (2 days ago)
Veganism debunked
Jack Jammen (2 days ago)
Why not change to green energy and replace the oil running through all the pipelines in the United States with water?
Jack Jammen (2 days ago)
Couldn’t relocate them!???
130starfish (2 days ago)
So were now listening to a guy, An "ecologist" that because of a bad hunch, 40000 elephants got killed needlessly.. Now he has another "hunch" ? Why is this asshat swinging from a tree????
Barbara Maj (2 days ago)
Ted Google should be ashamed of such political crap! I don't need to watch this to know the pseudoscience being applied. I'll bet Ted Google (or whoever this guy is) doesn't apply the "heat" to 3/4's of the earth's surface - you know that wet (blue) area - the OCEANS!!!! Can anyone say "HUMIDITY"??? Now, where will that wet humidity get deposited? Come-on, you can do it.... (in London and Seattle hahahaha JJ) I'll bet this guy is a vegetarian...
Ricardo MAGARico (1 day ago)
Why would you say such nonsense? Agenda 2030 is a proven behavior that over a hundred countries have signed to and it works!
brian kukk (2 days ago)
really how can you save your self really you are full of bullshit wake up to who blows you up your goernment
brian kukk (2 days ago)
you are on a dead star wake up you killed it with nucks
rocking chair (2 days ago)
Arguing that temperature and pressure was ever static is retarded.
Ola K (2 days ago)
Stop MAKING new deserts first?
Ola K (2 days ago)
So what about the rubber in the seas that Is a bigger threat? REALLY?? Yeah.......
May Amundsdatter (2 days ago)
Thank you Allan Savory for this splendid appearance and simple work for saving everything!
NoNeomarxist Actor (2 days ago)
Reverse Climate Change . Should we reverse Climate how far back ? Perhaps to when there was 3,000 ft. of ice where I sit ? Mars is changing too . Mars is getting warmer ,due to people driving S.U.V.s , no doubt .
Jim Tomasko (2 days ago)
This guys is so full of s***! It disappointing that people actual belief this trash. His theories are not backed by science. He even published that biological soil crusts are bad and should be destroyed (his 1985 publication). I can't help but think about the 100,000 elephants he ordered killed in order to protect the forest in southern Africa - whoops, that turned out to be a huge mistake. Don't listen to these lies!! Its just an excuse to beat up the land by overgrazing - he never addresses which species of grasses respond to his overgrazing treatments (non-native invasive grasses and plants respond to his 'technique').
Steven Coffey (2 days ago)
This was published in 2013. Where do we find an update/progress report?
Steven Coffey (1 day ago)
+James Robert Coyle Thanks.
James Robert Coyle (1 day ago)
Byakko (2 days ago)
el ave (2 days ago)
CO2 does not cause normal cyclical climate changes. But spraying particulate high in the atmosphere does cause global warming with the greenhouse effect, they are causing global warming with chem trails. To melt the ice caps for resource wealth. Natural Climate changes have occurred throughout the Earths history way before man.
el ave (2 days ago)
jew propaganda
Harley Neal (2 days ago)
How does dryland farming affect land like this?
Harley Neal (2 days ago)
Time to reestablish the Buffalo Commons!
Dan Dangerous (2 days ago)
One more example of the idiocy we call science. In Africa there is a tiny wasp that seemed to have no purpose, other than to sting the crap out of everything it could. Livestock were suffering as well as humans. It was decided to eradicate them, and the process was started,. That is, until someone pointed out that it was the sole pollinator of some fruit.( figs?), that one third of the animals depended on, at some point during the year, for food. They burrow into the fruit to lay their eggs and thus pollinate it. How would we have replicated that process? The collapse of that third would have spelled disaster for the remainder. We have no idea what we are doing, yet we do it anyway. Why is that? If the effects of our floundering s were immediate, we may be far less likely to meddle. Unfortunately, we have to wait for our stupidity to catch up with us. And then it may be too late.
Dan Dangerous (2 days ago)
Look at what our bodies can achieve with pizza and beer. All the processes it can accomplish, in spite of our lack of intervention and guidance. Or should I say despite our intervention and misguidance? Until we are smarter than our bodies, we should assume nature knows more than we do. There is no denying that we are the worst biological disaster the planet has produced, to date. We call ourselves intelligent. You would imagine that intelligent life would be "stewards' of the planet that produced it. Not the biggest mistake it ever made.
Bartels Bikes (2 days ago)
This guy is a real idiot. We have always known these principles. I was taught rotational grazing and crop rotation as a child, and I am 63 years old. Stupid arrogant academics. Why did this dope think elephants walk the same hundreds of miles each season? Soil quality depends on water retention and the chemical nutrients from dung and dead-fall that micro organisms thrive on. Also there are burrowing insects and animals that aerate the soil.Ted Talks are great for people who have no practical experience with anything. Get out of the auditorium. Get a job. Learn reality.
Dan Dangerous (2 days ago)
Who would have thought to look at nature for the solution? We, with our arrogant, and too often, ignorant, perceptions of "science' are the biggest danger to ourselves and our planet. They should start an award for men like this called the "Common Sense' award. Maybe it will actually become common, again.
Old news grand solar minimum is now greenifying vast areas. Since this doesn't fit the message of paying a carbon tax... You won't be told about this... Keep up to date on the science people.
john smith (2 days ago)
if they stop chemtrailing they will stop climate change the weather will go back to normal these trails were not there 30 years ago contrails disperse behind a plane within seconds . our sky use to be dark blue the sun yellow now all we get is a light blue sky due to a white chemical haze that makes our sun look white.
Melvin Hunt (2 days ago)
Tom Swinburn (2 days ago)
The lefts ABSOLUTE certainty that they and they alone, already have all the answers dooms this earth saving idea. A man in central Tx. completely and totally reversed damage done by overgrazing for 15 years. The land was ruined or so it was thought.5500 acres was revitalized turning deserts into grass land. Land with no water, surface or underground now has 12 lakes, ponds or tanks.
Jordan Weinstein (1 day ago)
Foolish to make this political.
A Wat (2 days ago)
Got it. Go vegan, destroy the planet.
peter knapp (2 days ago)
Over the years, we shot 40.000 elephants. You & your club are playing god. How dare you. You are now busy trying to remove 95% of the human population. You are not gods, nature will pay you back i promise.
Peter Surdo (2 days ago)
So let me get this straight. Less scientist, no fire and more cattle. Okay, let's do it.
Jim Younger (2 days ago)
No such thing as global warming !! Don’t drink the kool aid !! Such bullshit !! Remember these lying propaganda artists first called it global warming?? When that became obviously ridiculous , they desperately changed the catch phrase to climate change. This climate has been changing long before simple minded humans came along !!
davekachel (2 days ago)
I hate him that this makes sense... I hate him because every historical (ancient) dry happened after humans hunted wild animals down and cattled the rest. I somehow wish this is just a coincidence
Tamas Gyori (3 days ago)
Climate change is NOT man made the way the narrative tries to BS the sheeple.
Overcome theIllusion (3 days ago)
TED = Bill Gates
Vikram PRN (3 days ago)
The problem here is taking the live stock to these remote areas and feeding them in the first decade.....it will cost a lot more than we estimate....
Argiod Silvertongue (3 days ago)
Terraforming 101 Life is all about balance and resource management. If you live in a sealed garage, it makes no sense to run your engine, AND complain your air is foul. If we don't learn to take care of our world, we will surely lose it.
Rory Forbes (3 days ago)
There is absolutely no empirical evidence, whatsoever, that fossil fuels are causing this planet's climate to change. "Climate change" is the default condition of Earth's atmosphere. There has been a continuous unbroken history of "climate change" as long as the planet has had water and an atmosphere. e are fortunate to be living during a Goldilocks interglacial that is warm and welcoming ... though dangerously short on CO2.
Buhe Wuliji (3 days ago)
the importance of nomadic lifestyle
BIGLOVE4TRUTH (3 days ago)
You stupid people: https://youtu.be/KW3spkkX0ro
DAVID WITT (3 days ago)
Salesman !
JC (3 days ago)
AOC will be pissed if she ever took the time to watch this. It seems to make sense to me. The Clintons may try to suicide this man.
Tony Davis (3 days ago)
Climate change is a Marxist hoax
Dave Ktver (3 days ago)
Look at the Green New Deal....it'll remove massive herds of livestock and dramatically increase desertification, all in the name of going green...and sending trillions of dollars to politicians, of course.
So proud of this incredible man who hails from Zimbabwe. He was in opposition to the Rhodesian govt but was largely rejected by the white population. I feel certain that the country would have thrived under his leadership & not be the basket case it now is...
MyXxx77 (3 days ago)
MyXxx77 (3 days ago)
So let me get this straight - We've been in a cooling cycle since the early 2000s and now, you want to reverse it? I thought it was "warming" you were afraid of. You know what grass and every other plant on Earth likes? CO2. If only we could figure out a way to add CO2 to the atmosph... Oh! Wait a minute...
Christian Saliba (3 days ago)
AMAZING SPEAKER AND NOT AFRAID TO ADMIT AND QUICKLY REACT WHERE HE WAS WRONG! Your blunder is less on you then those that thought theories as fact without testing leading you to wrong hypothesis. Nature really does have an answer to everything and when God says this planet is built for as many people as there is sand on the seashores or stars in the sky he created it to feed many.
Robert Jackson (3 days ago)
Show this to the democratic party
Dave Dosanjh (3 days ago)
This makes tons of intuitive sense. The world used to host vast herds of 4-legged creatures. It's no great leap to accept they played an important ecological role. I suspect it is due to zealous ideology, specifically that meat eating is categorically bad in all respects, that I have never heard this theory.
Geert Anthonis (3 days ago)
I love a well argumented case. This makes perfect sense when all the pieces are put together.
Norbert Kausen (3 days ago)
The more we mess around with nature, because we arrogantly think we can control nature and do better than nature can, the more we destroy this planet!
Ann Bradley (3 days ago)
What do the livestock eat as they are on barren ground?
Brad Hartliep (3 days ago)
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Roberto Jorge (3 days ago)
So , I understand that the problem is the barbed wire fences... everytime smaller and smaller
Donald Ceronio (3 days ago)
Will have a steak today on you sir
Jacob Friskus (3 days ago)
An eyeopener that must be told further
helder capela (3 days ago)
to my view , the planet earth is like a human body , when the cattle (animals) graze the grass around , and by cutting the grass or breaking the plants the roots understand a need to grow or to continue life, is like the plant is serving a purpose , also the drops of elephants carry also seeds and together with the nutrients to germinate.
Dawner Yumnam (4 days ago)
you killed 40,000 elephants!!!!!??????? wtf
Raze Havoc (1 day ago)
Fascinating! The secret is to mimic the herd/predator relationship that kept the herd animals tightly packed together and moving constantly. High numbers of herd animals break up the ground, fertilize the grasses and quickly move on to fresh food allowing the grasses to rebound thicker and more dense. The grasses and the root systems act like a giant sponge holding rainwater long enough for it to soak into the water-table not running off into rivers washing top soil away! This allows a dramatic change to the environment, the water table fills up feeding springs, streams and lakes. The key to restore the grasslands is using natures natural processes of massive moving herds hunted by predators.
Club Fred (4 days ago)
Hopefully this video will make it all around the world and will change our mind! Allan Savory deserves the Nobel-Prize !

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