Environmental (and Cultural) Benefits


Published on

Speaker: Henry Bakker
Session: Grass Fed Beef Production

Published in: Education
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Environmental (and Cultural) Benefits

  1. 1. Environmental (and Cultural) Benefits Henry Bakker, Field Sparrow Farms Feb 24. 2014
  2. 2. Sustainability sustain: provide with the basic necessities required to support or preserve life livelihood, or existence; maintain or keep (an action or process) going continuously sustainable: “Ecology” (esp. of development) that conserves an ecological balance by avoiding depletion of natural resources; that may be maintained, esp. at a particular level - Oxford Canadian Dictionary
  3. 3. Our Common Future Our Common Future, published in 1987 by the World Commission on Environment and Development (the Brundtland Commission), defined it as development that “seeks to meet the needs and aspirations of the present without compromising the ability to meet those of the future.” - Oxford Concise Dictionary of Ecology
  4. 4. Photosynthesis = Energy There are many different types of ecosystem but the foundation of all of them, and therefore the basis for all life on earth, is photosynthesis. It is the only way that energy is introduced into the system…Within an individual ecosystem photosynthesizers (such as plants, trees and grasses) provide the basic energy input. Responsible grazing seeks to maximize solar collection through optimal plant management.
  5. 5. The first law of thermodynamics Energy is conserved, that is to say, indestructible. There is always the same total amount of energy in the universe. It can be neither created, nor destroyed; it just changes form, such as from chemical energy in fuel, to heat. Energy is simply available or unavailable for use.
  6. 6. The second law of thermodynamics The entropy of the universe tends to a maximum. Entropy is the measure of the degree of disorder in a system. As entropy increases systems evolve from a state of relative order to one of disorder. Entropy can also be thought of as a measure of the amount of unavailable energy in a system.
  7. 7. Recycling The fact that the earth is a closed system means that nothing can get out. All waste products must go somewhere. The recycling of the materials necessary for life is an essential function of all ecosystems and the other physical and chemical processes on earth.
  8. 8. Soil Soil is the product of an ecosystem – it has been created by living plants and animals and it continues to rely on them to remain fertile and productive. Fertility is built up and maintained as an active process through the interaction of the plant cover, the existing soil, the work of decomposers and other environmental factors such as rainfall and temperature. All of these processes make the various types of soil found in different parts of the globe one of the most complex living systems on earth.
  9. 9. A Fragile Resource Although soils are created over time this process is, on a human timescale, so slow that the soil is in effect a nonrenewable resource. It is also a highly fragile one. Ecosystems develop naturally in a way that protects the soil on which they depend. Once the trees and plants of an ecosystem are destroyed or badly damaged then the underlying soil is very quickly subjected to severe strain and can be easily destroyed or eroded away by wind and rain leaving only a degraded remnant.
  10. 10. When was this written? “One thing is sure. The earth is now more cultivated and developed than ever before. There is more farming with pure force, swamps are drying up, and cities are springing up on unprecedented scale. We’ve become a burden to our planet. Resources are becoming scarce, and soon nature will no longer be able to satisfy our needs.” - Tertullian, Roman theologian, 200 A.D.
  11. 11. Here’s Another One… “What now remains compared with what then existed is like the skeleton of a sick man, all the fat and soft earth having wasted away, and only the bare framework of the land being left… there are some mountains which now have nothing but food for bees, but they had trees not very long ago… there were many lofty trees of cultivated species and… boundless pasturage for flocks. Moreover, it was enriched by the yearly rains from Zeus, which were not lost to it, as now, by flowing from the bare land into the sea; but the soil it had was deep, and therein it received the water, storing it up in the retentive loamy soil, and… provided all the various districts with abundant supplies of springwaters and streams, whereof the shrines still remain even now, at the spots where the fountains formerly existed.” - Plato, Critias, ca. 340 BC
  12. 12. Hillside in Jordan
  13. 13. The Ancient Roman City of Cuicul
  14. 14. “Scrawny” sheep graze near the ruins
  15. 15. Timgad – another Roman city of North Africa
  16. 16. Abandoned American farm house
  17. 17. Bare Capped Soil - Zimbabwe
  18. 18. 6 months later – 200 cattle & 100 goats rotating through a new area each day
  19. 19. Two Years Later
  20. 20. Our Task… “The most important task in all human history has been to find a way of extracting from the different ecosystems in which people have lived enough resources for maintaining life – food, clothing, shelter, energy and other material goods. Inevitably this has meant intervening in natural ecosystems. The problem for human societies has been to balance their various demands against the ability of the ecosystems to withstand the resulting pressures.” - Clive Ponting, from A Green History of the World: The Environment and the Collapse of Great Civilizations