This gorgeous creature on the right is perhaps the most endangered mammal on the planet. There are just a few left in the wilds. This female and her cub were filmed by the Planet Earth documentary team—an extremely rare sighting. Do you know the name of our beautiful animal?
Does it really matter if we loose to extinction an animal such as this? What is it contributing to our lives? Does it really matter that we are cutting down all the forests that make up its habitat? We have been answering these questions for years, but let’s revisit, because it is important . I’ll come back to our gorgeous creature, but meanwhile…
Hey, it’s Spring here, and hope springs eternally…right? Mother Nature is sprouting, new buds are popping, chlorophyll is making its appearance once again. What a gift we’ve been given, what a responsibility we have, regarding our relationship with Mother Nature.
Let’s talk about how and where we are getting this relationship right, and shine the light on the reason for our hope in the face of our self-made, but not inevitable, doom.
More of you have weighed in regarding my comments, in our March 14th Forward Thinking newsletter, on the recently published article, Red Meat Consumption and Mortality, and also to the supportive commentary offered by Dean Ornish in his article, Holy Cow! What’s Good for You is Good for our Planet—both basically promoting a vegetarian solution to the de-evolution world problem.
Adding to the point of view that all red meat is not bad and that there is a world of difference between a factory farmed animal and an organically pastured-only criter, was Karen Wennlund, Dispensary Manager and Clinical Herbalist for the Mederi Centre For Natural Healing. I will share some of the points she made in her email and her invaluble links to the major architechs of the solutions she is proposing.
Direct quotes from Karen’s email:
- The difference between conventional, factory farming, where probably 90% of the US [population] get their beef, and cows raised on perennial grasslands in the appropriate way (mimicking the way wild herbivores have co-evolved with predators and grass for thousands of years) is Light Years; and in terms of the health of people and health of the planet are not comparable, as they are two different animals, two distinctly different things!
- As far as people’s health, big differences in the omega 3 to omega 6 ratio of the purely grass fed variety to that of the CAFO variety.
- But really what I know more about is the carbon sequestration that happens when cows and other herbivores are grazed correctly on perennial pastures. Fact is, in our temperate climate, it is the cheapest, most efficient way to sequester carbon from the atmosphere.
- There are different estimates out there, here’s one from PA Yeoman’s son…”With just a 1.6% increase in the organic matter of the wolrds already farmed soils, atmospheric levels of carbon would be returned to pre-industrial levels in 10 years.” (Alan Yeoman)
- Another from Peter Bane, a leading permaculturalist and publisher of Permaculture Activist, talking about Polyface Farm… “If US agriculture lands currently receiving 30 inches or more of rain yearly (basically the eastern US- about 800 million acres) were farmed like Polyface, 2.2 billion tons of carbon per year would be sequestered, which was equal (in 2007) to the total US atmospheric release of carbon.”
- This is about using what we already have (established pastures) to make a difference now. Its an issue of management, not about vilifying cows or the flesh.
- Lots of resources out there. One of the farmers mentioned is Abe Collins, a dairy farmer in Vermont, who incorporates Holistic Management, Broadacre Permaculture, and Keyline Principles. He runs 70 mature/40 young; moves them from paddock to paddock four to ten times daily (top grazing). This has an equivalency of 400 to 800 animals per acre. Calves stay with mothers, one time daily milking, sells them directly to restaurants, and the kicker makes 8 inches of topsoil per year!
Here are some very important links that Karen has given us: Down and Dirty—How carbon farming, the practice of putting CO2 back into the soil, can help fight global warming; Scientists Help Ranchers Wrangle Carbon Emissions—Soon ranchers might be able to use their land to offset carbon emissions; Holistic Management International—Help to improve your land and your life; and Abe Collin’s, Co-founder of Carbon Farmers of America, talk: The Carbon Ranch- Using Food and Stewardship to Build Soil and Fight Climate Change.
So, thank you Karen. These are fantastic and important ideas and links (above) for us to dive into.
Now, how does all this relate to my opening paragraph’s question, why save the beautiful creature above from extinction? The answer in a nut shell is, that if we look carefully at her ways and how she fits into the ecosystem, we can learn how to keep that ecosystem healthy. A good example is what we talked about above. When we acknowledge the reality that our present farming methods (factory farms, and monoculture plantation) are destroying the soils all around the earth and polluting the air we breathe, and furthermore that even the fruits of these farming methods, whether plant or animal, are vastly inferior to organically grown vegetables and fruits, and livestock that are raised and fed by migratory grazing strategies through variety of organic pastures, similiar to how the zebras, wildebeest (let’s not forget the lions) do it—grazing the top of the plants and fertilizing and building the soil along the way. When we learn from nature and duplicate her ways, we not only have better meats and vegetables but we have a healthy ecosystem worldwide. This is all something to get our energies into. This is something we can do now. If we get the farming right, we get the soil right, we get the air right, we get a bounty of real food right that can therapeutically nourish our bodies. Nature knows, we need to work with her not trample her creatures. Then we can all flourish.
Isn’t it time for a Spring cleaning of our body. Many of you have your detox programs
for your patients in the Spring. Our new product fit right in. Here they are: Energy Sustain, Cruciferous Sprouts Complex, Chlorella, Phyto Power, Ultra Minerals and Original Synbiotic Formula.
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The Last Quiz Answer:
The Great Migration is a site I think we all must see in our life time. The annual movement of zebras, wildebeest, eland, giraffe and other herbivores, of course, along with their shepards—the great preditors of Africa. Click on the above link. It shows you via an interactive map the route that these animals must take—1.5 million wildebeest, 500,000 Thompon’s gazelle, 200,000 zebra and 18,000 eland. Would that not be so awe inspiring to see?
||Our local food co-op’s newsletter this week had an article entitled “Sustainable Stars,” and within this group they highlighted R.W. Knudsen Family and Santa Cruz Organic. They both hail from a distribution facility in California that earned LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)) Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2010.
The 157,000 square-foot warehouse generates more than 90 percent of its energy needs via solar arrays, methane turbines and natural gas microturbines. They have a solar water heater that provides more than half of the building’s hot water needs, skylights and translucent wall panels that reduce lighting and energy needs, and innovative water management. More that 90 percent (283,000 pounds) of construction waste materials were recycled during construction, and materials used were made from recycled content. Beyond production, the juice makers are committed to sustainable agriculture and juice free of added sugar, artificial colors and preservatives.
I’ve always liked these two companies products. Isn’t it nice to know that they truly walk the talk!