Operation Hope: Winner of the 2010 Buckminster Fuller Challenge

October 29, 2010 - 11:40:36 AM

Operation HopeThe Winner of the 2010 Buckminster Fuler Challenge is Operation Hope, submitted by Allan Savory on Behlalf of the Africa Center for Holistic Management 

"This project demonstrates how to reverse desertification of the world’s savannas and grasslands, thereby contributing enormously to mitigating climate change, biomass burning, drought, flood, drying of rivers and underground waters, disappearing wildlife, massive poverty, social breakdown, violence and genocide."


WEBSITE: Africa Center for Holistic Management

WEBSITE: Savory Institiute

VIDEO: Lecture at Trinity College,Dublin (1hr)

SLIDE SHOW: Project team in the field in Africa

Critical Need Being Addressed

"Viewed holistically biodiversity loss/desertification/climate change are one issue not three. Without reversing desertification, climate change cannot be adequately addressed. This project has demonstrated that livestock can reverse desertification, even during droughts, over the largest areas of the Earth’s land – the grasslands and savannas."

Description of Initiative

"Our work established a previously unsuspected cause of desertification – that humans of all ages and cultures make decisions using the same core decision framework. Flaws in this universal framework made world-wide desertification inevitable. Modifications, explained in "Holistic Management" A New Framework for Decision Making" Savory & Butterfield Second Edition 1999, Island Press, make reversing desertification possible."

"This work, begun in the early 60s gave erratic results. Since 1984 when the decision-making piece of the puzzle fell into place, as long as the process is followed results in restored grasslands have been consistent and can be guaranteed."

"In this particular project ACHM has demonstrated on 6500 acres of grasslands in Zimbabwe the process of reversing desertification. Livestock have increased 400% using holistic planned grazing and we now enjoy open water, water lilies and fish a kilometer above where water has been known before in the dry season. The livestock are integrated with Africa’s big game avoiding competition and wildlife are on the increase. Currently, we can barely keep pace with grass growth even in dry years. This is greatly influencing scientists, NGO’s and pastoralists from all over Africa."

Overview by the Buckminster Fuller Institute

"Allan Savory is a former wildlife biologist, farmer, and politician -- a true pioneer in a field that he virtually created himself - the field of holistic rangeland management. He co-founded the U.S.-based Center for Holistic Management in 1984 and currently operates under the Savory Institute: www.savoryinstitute.com Savory's approach to reversing desertification is common sense but very counterintuitive and accordingly has been rejected over the years in many scientific, academic and policy circles because it challenges prevailing wisdom. However, a growing body of practitioners around the world, who have been influenced by his lectures, workshops, and published works, are apparently applying his innovative management principles with great success. The Africa Center for Holistic Management (ACHM), a 6500 acre rangeland learning center which he created in 1992, is governed by 9 trustees including Savory, his wife and 5 African chiefs. The work of the Center is a living testament to his breakthrough methods for reversing desertification and its insidious impact on livelihoods, biodiversity and climate change. He has transformed large swaths of parched and degraded areas of the ranch into lush pastures replete with ponds and flowing streams even during periods of drought. Surprisingly, this was accomplished through a dramatic increase in the number of herd animals on the land. The Center's success is garnering significantly more attention than ever before. Savory's seminal work on the subject is called Holistic Management - A New Framework for Decision Making. It was originally published in 1988 with a revised edition (600 pages) released in 1999. It has been widely praised by many including Paul Hawken, Amory and Hunter Lovins , and Hazel Henderson. and in a 90 page handbook at http://www.managingwholes.com/village/vmen.pdf"