“For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.” -- H. L. Mencken
I would like to introduce the compounding and complex environmental issues that are in a word, plaguing the earth. They are wide and varied, from deforestation and afforestation, encroaching deserts, oceanic dead zones, eutrophication of bodies of waters, increasingly more silt in rivers from runoff, increasing carbon emissions to the atmosphere, more flooding, more drought, increasingly devastating storms, and on and on.
They are a worrisome force that are part of the struggle for us humans, as a species, to survive and to get through.
But there's a major problem, a fundamental flaw that has been spurred on by unnatural forces that are much bigger than little, seemingly-insignificant me, which to me seem to be exacerbating the very environmental issues we're having to work with and around--or just merely try to ignore in our cushy air-conditioned offices--yet are actually publicly marketed, albeit very subtlety, as being the clear and very simple solution to all that plagues this world.
May I introduce the first contender, the outwardly and superficially handsome ideal that is plant-based living and eating, also known as veganism. Look just a little deeper and you'll see that it is the encapsulation of anti-livestock and anti-meat semantics, sentiments, and ideologies. As I push even deeper, you're going to be seeing some of the most ugliest, horrific, and upsetting things that have to do with this plant-based belief system of "the one solution that will solve all," which I warn may offend you, or anger you enough to try to call me out as being "wrong" or a "liar," particularly if you're the type reading this who follows the anti-livestock rhetoric belief system.
I've already given you fair warning about the things I'm wishing to talk about on this blog. I'm a wild rose, beef cattle and rangelands are my passion, and I'll tell you what, the stuff that I've personally seen and will share on subsequent posts will be enough to knock your socks off, and then some.
But, I digress.
It's time I introduce the second contender that may help figure out a way to turn this climatically-f**ked ship around. But it's not who--or what--you expect. You see, the solution to a complex problem is actually also an equally complex solution. But the fundamentals of that solution is, in my own mind, universal and rather simple. It isn't clear though, because it's complex. And the reason it's complex is because it's not a one-size-fits-all solution.
So who or what is our second contender here? Us. Yes, WE are the very thing that can help turn the tide, but that's not all, nor the most important. It's rather our very mindset, our notions, and the way we SEE things that must change in order for major change to occur. Too often too many people view things, instinctually and habitually mind you, in a simplistic, reductionist, materialistic way. We don't think about the long-term consequences of our actions very much, if at all. We often don't see things in whole-systems approaches, because it's much easier and simpler to isolate something from its whole and look at it separately, ignoring the rest of the outside influences. But, when we begin to on the journey to change that mindset and start looking at things more holistically, more in terms of systems within and apart of various other systems, we start seeing things in a very different manner.
I'm deliberately making a plug for Holistic Management and Regenerative Agriculture here, because it matters and is a part of the solution, which, once again, is a complex, and never ending one.
Yet why did I say above that, "the fundamentals of that solution is, in my own mind, universal and rather simple?" Because it's all to do with realizing the Principles versus the Methods. I see many, many people get methods and principles mixed up, and confuse one for the other. Principles, by definition, are those key elements which serve as the fundamental basis of something, such as management practices for managing and monitoring rangelands. Principles are static, or fixed, sort of like rules or laws. Methods, on the other hand, are "a particular form of procedure for accomplishing or approaching something, especially a systematic or established one." They are flexible, variable, easily changed and manipulated according to certain factors that may affect them; they are also known as procedures. Where there are a few principles in managing systems, there are thousands of different methods (not to mention types) to succeed in managing these systems.
This is where Holistic Management and Regenerative Agriculture are strong, is because of these principles that are in place for people to understand, to acknowledge, then find the methods that suit themselves, their lifestyles, their climate, and their land-base that works for them, to garner the success they will achieve in leaving what they started with better when they have to leave it behind. That's all there is to it.
Yes, managing isn't simple, it's not supposed to be simple, particularly when you're taking care of something that has many moving parts to it, none which cannot be ignored nor dismissed.
We humans are the only ones who can do all this managing, all this understanding and acknowledging of principles vs. methods and whole systems and on and on. But we can't do it all without the help of various tools at our disposal, such as livestock animals, fences, hammers, ATVs, a laptop, anything to help us get the job done.
Ah, I'll bet you were wondering when I'd mention livestock, eh? You may also be surprised that I didn't mention livestock as the primary second contender. Well, there's a good reason for that. Livestock are a part of us as the second contender. They are not anything if they are not a part of something. I cannot make them contenders because they really don't do anything of much value, sorry to say, without us humans behind them cleaning up their messes and moving them around.
Livestock are, as living organisms, very important tools in our tool kit to better manage a landscape. That isn't to say that they're nothing more than commodities or worthless mechanical machines that matter not at all. No, they're far beyond just commodities, and certainly not machines. They're living beings that are a part of the land that we humans do, should, and have to care about with every fibre of our being. They are as valuable as the plants and the soil that grow which feeds both them and us in some way shape or form; they are as valuable as the air we breathe, our senses we need to live and know what surrounds us, what we interact with. And they are desperately needed to graze, scratch, dig, and browse to keep the deadened plant life from sucking out more potential plant life, to stimulate the soil and the plants to grow anew, to fertilize and lay down organic material to build the soil to continue to feed them and us, and most of all, to also feed us when it's time for them to go.
We. Need. Livestock. But we can't need them if we don't know how to properly raise and manage them so that they actively help us, not hinder us. That exact fact is the very reason why I despise the anti-livestock rhetoric "movement," and what many people who stoke the fire of, "less cows, more crops!" simply do not understand.
IT IS THE HOW, NOT THE COW, that is our biggest problem with what's going environmentally wrong with this planet. People have good intentions to think that by avoiding meat or animal products they are doing something "good," but in my travels and talks and conversations with many of those who are much closer to the land than those who tout the meatless banner on the plant-based bandwagon, that simple and clear sentiment is dead wrong.
This is why I'm here. I'm done complaining about the anti-meat, anti-livestock rhetoric. I'm here to educate and show you all why you need to support livestock raise regeneratively and holistically.
The journey starts now.
Range Nerd, Forage & Grazing Fanatic and a Bovine Enthusiast. A love for farming, and for the soil.
Keep it civil, but don't be a jerk. Personal attacks and harassment will not be tolerated.
There's going to be a lot of heated discussions and that’s totally fine. These discussions often are about topics that we all personally care a lot about and will passionately defend. But in order for discussions to thrive here, we need to remember to criticize ideas, not people.
So, remember to avoid: