Everything Is Connected

Yes, it is. And NPR and TED Talks collaborate on a great hour of radio to explore what that means:

Every species plays a crucial role in our natural world. But when humans tinker with the equation, a chain reaction can cause entire ecosystems to break down. In this hour, TED speakers explain how everything is connected in nature, with some bold ideas about how we can restore the delicate balance and bring disappearing ecosystems back.

One scientist featured is Bernie Krause, whose recordings of the natural world are a powerful reminder of how much we can learn if we stop making so much noise and simply…listen. And how changes in natural soundscapes can tell us how much humans have changed, or destroyed, the underlying ecosystems.

Climate Change And Grasslands

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:

Nightly Reader: Nov. 7, 2012

1) Hope And Change? Honestly, I’m more interested in change. But I’m glad to hear mention of the climate (FINALLY!), and I sincerely hope that the aspirations and ideals expressed so beautifully in this speech translate into true leadership and a kickass political strategy that leads to a real shift in what America cares about, and what sacrifices America is willing to make for the global good.

2) Annals Of Inexplicable Subsidies: Does federal flood insurance, which encourages people to build in vulnerable locations, make any sort of sense anymore? Not really.

3) Deja Vu All Over Again: Another week, another brutal storm for the Northeast. This one with wind, rain, AND snow.

BONUS VIDEO(S): Nine awesome TED Talks which aim to show you nature from a different perspective or in a different light.