TED Conversations

Linda Hesthag  Ellwein

Communications, Change, and Photography, Oikonomia, Inc.

TEDCRED 50+

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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?

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  • Mar 9 2013: There is nothing you know now that won't change when you know.

    Or said otherwise ...people don't know when they don't know they don't know....

    The recent Sheldrake thread kaffle is a good working example ....the speed of light ...to narrow the example down.

    There are "other" types/qualities of light beside material (reflected) light and that light is beyond any "concept" of speed or time.

    For myself the Savory presentation had many many .."who wait a minute" pauses in it....I am an old farm boy so I know the difference between cow pies and BS ..I have also done a lot of travelling across open Ranch range land (previously
    Buffalo ) and so know some of the "sensitivities" only the ranches themselves can explicate. In short these grassland are a sacred as earth intelligence can communicate to HUman intelligence.

    But that said I also saw/hear/felt many "Yes" gut feel intuitions in his presentation....point that would be best left to ranchers and herdsmen on the african plain to confirm or reject

    And that leads me to how I can respond to your question "how do you respond too" ....I go to the folks who are in most direct contact with the subject at hand...not the "well-meaning" or the current crop of 'say anything politician/bureaucrats in order to keep my job'.

    And so to your final question "What ideas have you believed and been completely wrong" ( Lady you sure have a mixed bag question here but anyway)

    well for one. That "beliefs" can be a legitimate substitute for "Ideas". One has to be Very observant of ones Emotions and how they influence one's 'Desire-thoughts' vs 'thought-desires'
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      Mar 13 2013: Hi Ed :) Your mixed bag comment made me laugh. I needed a laugh today - it's moving day for me! I suppose I threw it in because the idea of cows restoring grasslands shocked me years ago - when I moved from NYC to Idaho. It changed how I looked at the world and my paradigms from that day forward. I began looking for solutions, instead of causes.

      As an old range rider (or should I say 'former range rider' ;), you're aware how large these expanses of land are! Many ranchers practice Holistic Management around the world with success, and a problem lies in how we define success. Success in this process dictates working toward your goal which generally includes healthier land - in addition to goals for the people, finances, even quality of life. When working towards something as complex as natural systems and human behavior, the results vary. Obviously, it is not a controlled environment.

      A great barrier to making large scale change on America's public rangelands has been our bureaucratic process which limits flexibility as it relates to grazing and livestock. Regulations prohibiting flexibility and numbers was the result of logical decision making based on traditional grazing practices in the past that resulted in severe over grazing. This remains an issue on western lands, particularly when riparian health is also an important consideration and a public concern. In the end, the bottom line will be society's willingness to explore all possibilities to reverse global climate change - and this might be another important and feasible solution towards that end.

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