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Climate Change And Grasslands

March 28, 2013

Some very hard (and welcome) pushback from Robert Goodland on Allan Savory’s popular TED talk about livestock and the restoration of grasslands.

From Goodland’s “Meat, Lies, and Videotape (A Deeply Flawed TED Talk)“:

From my long experience in environmental assessment, I can identify three key gaps in Mr. Savory’s assessment. First, what he proposes is unachievable. Second, he omits to incorporate a basic element in environmental assessment, and that’s analysis of alternatives. Third, he omits to say how long his recommendation would take to implement. Yet one expert group after another has projected that reversing climate change must begin in the next five years, or it will be too late.

Read the whole thing for the blow by blow deconstruction of Savory’s arguments, and approach. One additional key point Goodland makes is that Savory is important because his arguments are being used to help PERPETUATE the factory farm industry:

At least Mr. Savory promotes his approach to farmers, policymakers and academics — and not to consumers who must choose from foods available in the marketplace today. Indeed, few if any consumers seeking meat from their local grocers that’s produced using Mr. Savory’s approach will find any such product to be available today.

However, while Mr. Savory himself cautions that most livestock today are produced unsustainably, meat promoters can be seen spinning Mr. Savory’s claims as if they apply equally to factory-farmed meat. Yet it’s no new trick to promote factory farmed meat as grass-fed. A grassland producer has himself noted that most marketing of “grass-fed” beef is a hoax. Beef marketed this way commands a 200-300% price premium — so the incentive for producers to cheat is overwhelming, as evidenced in one videotape after another.

Here’s Goodland’s argument, presented in a much lighter way:

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