TED Conversations

Linda Hesthag  Ellwein

Communications, Change, and Photography, Oikonomia, Inc.


This conversation is closed.

How attached are you to your deeply held beliefs? If solutions to global problems challenge your worldview, how do you react?

Allan Savory's recent TED Talk introduced an unlikely and politically incorrect solution to reversing global desertification and climate change with the use of livestock as a tool, and different decision making.

Well-meaning laws, bureaucracies, and activists at the mercy of public opinion have stifled this work from moving forward on a large scale in the US. Belief systems and the fear of being wrong often prohibits change.

How do you respond to ideas that challenge your belief system? How do we stop our paradigms and prejudices from unfairly shaping decision making, and allowing us to take real risks for lasting change? What's your reaction to cows helping save the world? What idea have you believed and been completely wrong?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Mar 9 2013: One should be very deeply attached to his deeply held beliefs. To be otherwise would imply a lack of commitment to anything or everything. On the subject of grazing and recovering deserts, I hold no extended knowledge. Mr. Savory made a good argument for his concerns. I could support his recommendations for grazing. But, I am not a rancher, I am not someone who has invested in herds, grazing, marketing. So, my opinion is really not important. I understand the need to control the growth of deserts, I can see the benefits on a global scale. But, I don't see myself as a player.
    That is not to say that I don't have beliefs that are challenged when solutions are presented to global
    problems. And what are those Global problems that I find challenging?
    The list would be too long, but just a few.
    My favorite is global climate change.

    To hear the "problem" : Global climate has be in a steady state until 200 years ago when the west (Europe and North America) started an industrial revolution that used an increased amount of fossil fuels adding more CO2 to the atmosphere making the temperature go up. Etc, Etc. A lot of scientists all over the world have irrefutable evidence this is true.

    Why am I reactive: Because, the same story was told in the 1970's, only we were going to enter an ice age. The science was just as irrefutable. And don't tell me that they are smarter now then they were in 1970.

    My examination of Global Climate tells me that the globe has a range of climates from a giant snowball to a
    hot house sauna. It has always been changing and it will continue to change. Any scientist who tells me that man could stop it. I will say, "I want to check on what you're smoking"

    Is that a deep enough held belief?
    • thumb
      Mar 9 2013: "But, I don't see myself as a player..."

      If you eat beef, then you are a player.
      • thumb
        Mar 9 2013: I am not sure on what is meant by "player". I am an omnivore. I eat beef, vegetables, fruits, nuts, fish, just about anything that didn't eat me first.
        Since this post, I contacted a rancher friend. He tells me that pasture rotation is a prime consideration in herd management. I explained Savory's position and he agreed it made sense. But, he said that such practices could be insurmountable. If he could get past restrictive herd movements across private lands, federal lands, natural barriers and man made obstacles. There would be losses occurring in any such long distance move of the herd. He referenced cattle drives of old times where animals were herded hundreds of miles to market. Losses were substantial. More then could be absorbed by modern ranching.
        So, the question begs, how could Savory's program be implemented?

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.