"The work is based on a deep investigation and a new understanding of how the natural world works. It turns conventional thinking on its head. It addresses one of humanity’s most pressing problems. And it works for 100 percent of humanity and for the earth."
Innovations usually arise locally. If conditions are right, they spread globally. That story is playing out around the world today. In India, human rights activist Mallika Dutt designed an elegant media campaign that successfully interrupts domestic violence live in real time. High school science educator Jay Vavra helped his San Diego students save endangered species in Africa by using simple genetic identification technologies in local African bush meat markets. Nonprofit leader Shannon Horst employs holistic rangeland management techniques to stop the spread of deserts in Africa, the U.S. and worldwide. What's spreading fastest is hope…
Bioneers Series XI - Program 07-11
Globalocal: The Migration of Grass Roots Solutions
00:00 Underwriting narration (00:21)
The following program is made possible in part by Organic Valley Family of Farms. Organic and family-owned since 1988. Learn more at organicvalley.coop. Also by Park Foundation, dedicated to heightening public awareness of critical issues. As well as by the generous support of listeners like you.
00:22 Welcome (00:03)
00:25 Horst Teaser (00:14)
The work is based on a deep investigation and a new understanding of how the natural world works. It turns conventional thinking on its head. It addresses one of humanity’s most pressing problems. And it works for 100 percent of humanity and for the earth. (applause)
00:40 Macy (00:09)
It’s all alive, it’s all connected, it’s all intelligent, it’s all relatives…
00:50 Bioneers Teaser (00:28)
We stand at the threshold of a historic opportunity in the human experiment: to re-imagine how to live on Earth in ways that honor the web of life, each other and future generations.
It's a revolution from the heart of nature - and the human heart.
In this series - The Bioneers: Revolution from the Heart of Nature - we celebrate social and scientific innovators with breakthrough solutions for restoring people and planet - creating a future environment of hope.
01:18 Theme music fade out (00:08)
01:27 NARRATION 1a (00:21)
Oftentimes, people know what works best for them. That story is playing out around the world today as communities roll up their sleeves to solve problems together. After all, they’re the ones most affected. They’ve got a big stake. Innovation usually arises locally – and if conditions are right, it spreads globally.
01:48 Horst Tease 2 wkshp (00:36) (total 3 tease time)
We don’t use any fertilizers, no synthetic inputs, no special seeds, and we’ve been able to get, consistently over the last few years, three to 400 percent increase in yield including in some very, very dry years.
Vavra Tease 1 wkshp (00:10)
We interviewed Lazarus Saruni, an anti-poaching commander, understanding his dilemma in terms of catching poachers in the field and what he has to do to try to convict them in the court and apprehend them.
Dutt Tease 1 wkshp (00:13)
They are challenging child marriage. They’re challenging sexual harassment. They are challenging government corruption. They are demanding water in their communities and villages.
02:26 NARRATION 1b (00:29)
From the grasslands and forests of Africa to the suburbs of India and the schools of San Diego, everyday heroes are lighting the way to restore people and planet.
This is Globalocal: The Migration of Grass Roots Solutions with human rights advocate Mallika Dutt, science educator Jay Vavra and holistic rangeland management innovator Shannon Horst.
My name is Neil Harvey. I'll be your host. Welcome to the Bioneers: Revolution From the Heart of Nature.
02:56 Music fade (00:13)
03:09 NARRATION 2 (01:05)
Sometimes grassroots solutions are literal – in this case, they are rising up with the grass.
For decades a rangeland manager toiled in a remote part of Zimbabwe testing a set of common-sense, yet counterintuitive theories. Allan Savory took a whole systems view of the triple crises of biodiversity loss, desertification and climate change. He proposed they’re one interlocking issue.
After years of rejection in many scientific, academic and policy circles, Savory’s work at the African Centre for Holistic Management won the prestigious Buckminster Fuller Challenge Prize. The Prize is given each year to a breakthrough approach to solving one of humanity's worst problems.
Savory’s premise: Reverse the loss of grassland plant diversity – and help solve all three problems at once.
But how? Ask nature – look at healthy systems and recreate them. Savory Institute CEO and founder Shannon Horst says first we have to face the magnitude of the challenge.
04:14 Horst Cut 1 wkshp (00:46)
The grasslands represent 40 to 60 percent of the earth’s surface, about 11 billion acres. It’s a host to a large portion of the freshwater systems, so the water for our cities. They estimate that about 40 million, plus or minor acres per year is becoming unproductive or desertifying. It’s a host to much of the civil and international armed conflict and also the anticipated conflicts. All of us know that we’re now anticipating water wars beyond anything that we can imagine.
About 800 million to a billion of the world’s poorest populations live in these regions, and it’s also the largest terrestrial carbon sink available. Scientists estimate today that 30 to 80 percent of the soil, carbon and productivity of these lands has been lost.
05:01 NARRATION 3 (00:25)
In the 1960’s, while working on the interrelated problems of rising poverty and disappearing wildlife, Savory made his breakthrough.
05:26 Horst Cut 2 wkshp (01:08)
The first paradigm-shifting idea that he came up with in his work was the idea that the grasslands of the world co-evolved with grazing animals and the pack-hunting predator, and they can be restored by livestock managed to simulate that once symbiotic relationship and integrated with the wildlife. And the basic science behind that is that in the seasonal rainfall environments, when you have a period of rain where the vegetation grows, the microbiotic activity then dries off when it becomes dry. So, there is nothing to cycle that vegetation back into the ground. You can’t complete the cycle of life, and that’s the role that the large grazer played, they cycled the annual vegetation back into the soil. And the pack-hunting predator kept them tightly bunch and on a constant move. Because they’re bunched, they dung and urinate in high concentrations and they will not eat on their own feces unless we force them to. So, it was a symbiotic relationship between the animals, the plants, the soils, and that pack-hunting predator.
06:34 NARRATION 4 (00:05)
It took another 20 years to finally crack the code of declining biodiversity.
06:40 Horst Cut 3 wkshp (01:00)
He then came to the common denominator being that in every instance where we are losing biological diversity, the one common denominator is that humans are involved in managing the situation.
So, he said, okay, what is it about humans? And he came to this idea that the human decision-making process is, by default, linear. And it’s really good for building widgets, for rockets or weapons or those kinds of things. But the unintended consequence of billions of linear decisions on whole processes results in the destruction of those whole processes. He really looked at the original work of Jan Smuts who wrote a book called Holism and Evolution in 1926. And he warned the scientific community, as we all know today, but that was 1926, that we will never understand the wholes by studying the parts.
07:40 NARRATION 5 (00:35)
Allan Savory made the connection that it’s all connected.
This insight allowed him to create a “Holistic Decision-Making Framework.” When applied in precise combination with livestock management, the results seem magical. Topsoil can be restored, grasslands can become lush and diverse, and livestock carrying capacity (amid increasing wildlife populations) is a consistent result – bringing increased income to families at an impressive 8-percent, pastures grow lush with grass. Even dry rivers like the Dimbangombe flow again.
08:16 Horst Cut 4 wkshp (00:40)
It now is a host to ducks, otters, crocodiles, fish and fish eagles, which, again, we had lost because it had dried up and was only flowing seasonally. We’ve also seen a big increase in the large game, and that makes sense because we have food, water, and habitat.
And the animals have to be protected at night because of predators, so we corral them overnight on the crop fields, and we don’t use any fertilizers, no synthetic inputs, no special seeds, and we’ve been able to get, consistently over the last few years, 300-to 400-percent increase in yields, including in some very, very dry years.
08:56 NARRATION 6 (00:17)
Shannon Horst has helped spread the practice of holistic rangeland management. She and a small staff at Savory Institute and a network of about 100 accredited trainers around the world have conducted workshops for thousands from Africa to Sonora, Mexico and the Great Plains of the United States.
09:13 Horst Cut 5 wkshp (00:17)
A survey of early adopters was done some years ago by the Ohio State University. They surveyed 25 farmers and ranchers from Vermont to Montana. 21 of the 25 showed significant increase in profits and the average was 300- percent. During this same period, about 600,000 farm families left the farm.
09:31 NARRATION 7 (00:11)
Winning the Buckminster Fuller Challenge Prize propelled a global surge of interest. Grassland and rangeland managers around the world are taking a deeper look at these practical principles.
09:43 Horst Cut 6 wkshp (00:53)
True to the Buckminster Fuller Challenge parameters, holistic management is simple, practical and elegant, it’s scalable to vast landscapes. I’d just like you to think again, if we could take roughly two-thirds of the earth’s surface and increase its productive capacity by 400-percent and do to the rivers like of this continent what we’ve done to that little river there at Dimbangombe, it’s just mindboggling.
The work is based on a deep investigation and a new understanding of how the natural world works. It turns conventional thinking on its head. It addresses one of humanity’s most pressing problems, that of desertification. And it works for 100-percent of humanity and for the earth. (applause) Thank you.
10:37 NARRATION 8 (01:03)
Shannon Horst. Going Globalocal.
When we fight nature, we lose. When we work with nature, well – we’ve got a lot to learn.
For thousands of years, we’ve depleted the resources from forests, grasslands and oceans and precipitated the Sixth Age of Extinctions.
Scientists are calling this new time the Anthropocene
Era – named after humankind because we’ve become a literal force of nature. One that must either transform or face possible extinction ourselves.
Where to turn? Educating our kids to understand how the world works as a physical system is a good place to start.
In San Diego, California, Jay Vavra’s high school biology students are applying cutting-edge science to address the growing bushmeat crisis in Africa. It’s a high-tech service-learning project – education in the field to actually solve the problem, not just study it. They’ve partnered with Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots Youth Program, the San Diego Zoo and local biotech businesses.
11:40 Vavra Cut 1 wkshp (00:13)
The hunting, not only is it the biggest threat to biodiversity in Africa, but there are many human health stories connected to it. We have some of the worst pathogens that we know of have been introduced through the bushmeat trade – HIV, Ebola, monkey pox.
11:54 NARRATION 9 (00:22 )
Bushmeat – in other words wild, often endangered animals - has become the primary source of protein for most rural and many urban Africans. Chimpanzees, guinea fowl, monitor lizards and elephants are all classified as bushmeat. Hunting many of the large mammals is illegal, but it’s practically Impossible to enforce or prosecute.
12:16 Vavra Cut 2 wkshp (01:05)
Since the bushmeat, a lot of times it’s stripped down like jerky, an anti-poaching commander may find a camp with these slaughtered animals hanging on a drying line and the poachers can claim that they have cow or goats or some domestic species and easily get free and go out and poach again. And, so, we set up a strategy. Not all animals are as easy to identify as a zebra, but the strategy was, in terms of the forensics, not really whodunit, but who was it, and in a sense that helps us save some of these animals.
We started with a simulation, using ostrich, turkey and beef jerky, and students analyzed those. First we had a kind of a taste test and smelling and checking it out under the microscope and nobody could get it right, showing some of the difficulty here. But then even using this as a first run with really degraded DNA, students were able to identify each species using the DNA barcoding. And, so, that showed the promise for using such a strategy either in an airport or in a marketplace to identify these samples.
13:22 NARRATION 10 (00:18)
Not whodunit, but who was it? Barcoding just like in the supermarket – but used by genetic detectives to identify illegal poaching. On a field trip to Tanzania, Vavra’s students learned the ways and means of the trade first-hand from officials working to halt the bushmeat trade.
13:41 Vavra Cut 3 wkshp (00:42)
We interviewed Lazarus Saruni, an anti-poaching commander, understanding his story, his dilemma in terms of catching poachers in the field and what he has to do to try to convict them in the court and apprehend them and stop them. Also, from different tribes, we lived with three different tribes to get their story of either subsistence hunting or their agriculture and how they may be impacted by wild animals in the region. We also partnered with a group sponsored by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service from Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya, the mentor fellows at Mweka College in Tanzania where they train all the rangers and wildlife officials for TANAPA, the Tanzania National Parks and kind of shared stories and figured out a way to work together in the future.
14:24 NARRATION 11 (00:07)
Further research produced a novel solution: train anti-poaching officials in DNA identification techniques.
14:31 Vavra Cut 4 wkshp (00:39)
We started off the same thing with mystery meat and had them guess with these samples. We had Trader Joe’s turkey jerky and some lunch meat from the canteen there, and then we had some actual Cape buffalo sample from a hunter in the region, and had them guess, and guesses were all over the place, showing that these experts in the field need more technology to identify these species.
And, so, we ran through the workshop and it was, again, really rewarding to have my students become the teachers. They instructed them, these officials, how to run through and identify these samples. And we celebrated the success, the very hard work of the students. You can hear their passion.
15:11 Narration 12 - Lead to Mid Break (00:34)
Jay Vavra and his students are continuing their partnership with the Bush Meat Free East Africa Network (BEAN). Through student-made books and a film, they’re taking the story of their international educational success to classrooms around the world. Globalocal.
When we return, an international campaign to halt violence against women begins with a simple idea -- just ring the bell.
This is Globalocal: The Migration of Grass Roots Solutions I'm Neil Harvey. You are listening to The Bioneers: Revolution From the Heart of Nature.
15:45 MID BREAK (00:40)
16:25 Underwriter (00:10)
Bioneers radio is made possible in part by John Masters Organics. Feel good about looking good. Learn more at johnmasters.com.
16:35 NARRATION 13 (00:51)
To explore more Bioneers radio shows and conference videos, for free, visit bioneers.org
If there’s one thing that’s globalocal, it’s stories. Stories are like seeds, and they can grow everywhere. Spreading stories can change the story.
Human rights activist Mallika Dutt has a story… about how art, culture and innovative media tools are amplifying the global dialogue on human rights.
Mallika Dutt says it will take powerful collaborations to break the cycle of violence against women. It’s one of the world’s biggest pandemics. A staggering 1 in 3 women will experience violence in her lifetime. Dutt’s anti-violence media messages use one simple idea -- Ring the Bell. Or in Hindi: Bell Bajao.
17:27 Dutt Cut 1 plen (00:50)
So, Bell Bajao – it’s a simple concept. It’s a campaign that calls on men and boys to stake a stand against domestic violence. It’s a simple action of saying when you see violence, when you hear violence, don’t ignore it, interrupt it. And in this framing of the issue and asking people to ring the bell, we’re changing a narrative. We’re changing a narrative that says violence against women is a women’s problem to saying violence against women is everybody’s problem. It requires (applause) all of us, every single one of us to change this narrative to one where we can understand that peace really needs to begin at home.
18:17 NARRATION 14 (00:24)
Mallika Dutt is the award-winning founder of the innovative, international human rights organization, Breakthrough. She brings a wealth of experience from civil society as program officer at the Ford Foundation and at the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University.
Dutt has deftly blended the power of popular culture, media, and community mobilization to transform public attitudes.
18:41 Dutt Cut 2 plen (00:11)
So, we do this work in India at two broad levels. One is through the mass media. We partner with Ogilvy and Mather to create really compelling campaigns.
18:53 NARRATION 15 (00:55)
In a TV spot, a middle-aged man repairs his motorbike in the street. He hears a man abusing his wife in an apartment upstairs…
(SFX shouting, glass breaking)
He looks, considers and then climbs the stairs to the door.
(SFX – Door bell ringing)
An angry young man opens the door. The old man hesitates and then asks “Can I use your phone?” Just then the cell phone in his pocket rings.
(SFX – phone ringing)
Sheepishly he answers, looking the young man in the eyes. He turns and walks down the stairs. The young man looks puzzled. But the spell, the cycle of violence, has been interrupted.
SFX (Indian announcer in English) – “Bring domestic violence to a halt.” –ding- “Ring the Bell.”
19:48 Dutt Cut 4 plen (00:17)
And we engage in grassroots mobilizations with young people, with community leaders, young people who may or may not be in educational institutions, community leaders from all walks of life so that everybody becomes a stakeholder and becomes a human rights leader.
20:06 NARRATION 16 (00:09)
Media entrepreneurs and digital diplomats like Mallika Dutt are changing our collective story -- because when stories change, the world changes.
20:15 Dutt Cut 5 plen (00:58)
(applause fades up) So, these 75,000 young people that have undergone Breakthrough’s training in India so far have turned out to be extraordinary human rights leaders. They’re challenging child marriage. They’re challenging sexual harassment. They’re challenging dowry. They’re challenging issues faced by widows. They are challenging government corruption. They are demanding water in their communities and their villages. They are taking on caste-based discrimination. They are challenging the religious persecution of minorities. What we have seen is that when you open the door to talking about human rights through the issue of gender, by insisting that equality and respect begin at home, you open up the door to actually taking on social change in all these different manifestations, in all of these different ways.
21:14 NARRATION 17 (00:11)
The award winning campaigns of The Breakthrough project on violence against women, racial justice, HIV/AIDS and immigration reform are reaching millions in the U.S. and India.
21:26 Dutt Cut 6 (01:36)
So, we believe that human rights belong to everybody, that dignity, equality and justice are the birthright of every single person on this planet, and then it extends out to the entire world, to all of nature and everything around us. (cheers) We believe that it is not just people who face abuse who are responsible for upholding human rights, but that it’s all of our collective responsibility. (light applause) We believe that culture changes culture, that if we do not transform the cultural narratives around us, that if we don’t challenge those values that uphold violence, that uphold abuse, that uphold exploitation with values that promote tolerance, that promote dignity, that promote peace, that we will not be able to succeed in the ways in which we dream and desire.
We also believe in results. We think it’s important to always measure change. So we use very rigorous evaluation methodology. We do baselines, we do endlines, we track how many people we’ve reached, we look at how we’ve changed attitudes and behavior. And in the communities that we are working in, we’ve seen a 49-percent increase in awareness about the new Domestic Violence Act in India. We’ve seen a 15-percent increase in demand for services. And all kinds of stories are coming in of people who are ringing the bell, who are interrupting violence.
23:02 NARRATION 18 (00:06)
Ring the bell, get results. In social change, that’s the story.
23:08 Dutt Cut 7a (01:48)
In the methodology that we are using, where we are using mass media and PSA’s and games and arts and culture combined with community grassroots training and activism, we are seeing the emergence of a methodology that really can be applied in many different parts of the world. And we’ve been inundated with requests from people in such far off places as Argentina, as Nigeria, as Vietnam, asking us to partner with them to take Bell Bajao to their countries, use these methodologies to challenge violence against women and to promote human rights. And a number of people in the US have come up to me and said, okay, when are we bringing ring the bell right here, right now.
So, we’re goin g global. And what that means is that we’re asking everybody to become a Breakthrough ambassador, to join the community in ringing the bell and saying we have to stop violence against women. I often reflect on the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, who is one of my biggest sheroes, and I love to reflect back on her role in the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And she said, in the 1940’s, where after all do human rights begin. They begin in small places close to home, in workplaces, in schools, in families and communities. And for Breakthrough, as inspired by the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, human rights really begin with you. Thank you so much. (applause)
24:57 NARRATION 19 (01:14)
Mallika Dutt’s Bell Bajao campaign in the U.S. and India has swelled into an international movement to stop violence against women.
Jay Vavra’s high school students in San Diego found one way to help halt a tragic threat to chimpanzees and elephants in Africa and beyond.
In the grasslands of Zimbabwe, Shannon Horst and Allan Savory are mimicking nature’s own healing practices to restore grasslands, increase prosperity for people, prevent the spread of deserts and address climate change.
As the scientist James Lovelock wrote, "A geophysical system always begins with the action of a single organism. If this action happens to be locally beneficial to the environment, then it can spread until eventually a global altruism results. The reverse is also true, and any species that affects the environment unfavorably is doomed, but life goes on.”
What will our human story be?
Globalocal: The Migration of Grass Roots Solutions
26:12 Music fade (00:12)
26:20 Bioneers BXI - Program Close/Credits (1:50)
Many more Bioneers radio programs and conference videos are available on line for free at bioneers.org - where you can also find out how to attend the annual Bioneers Conference and local Bioneers satellite conferences near you.
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The Bioneers: Revolution From the Heart of Nature is a production of Collective Heritage Institute.
Executive Producer: Kenny Ausubel
Written by Catherine Stifter and Kenny Ausubel
Senior Producer: Neil Harvey
Managing Producer: Stephanie Welch
Production Management: Aaron Leventman and Chuck Castleberry
Station Relations by Creative PR
Distribution is by WFMT Radio Network
Our theme music is taken from the album "Journey Between" by Baka Beyond and used by permission of Hannibal Records, a Rykodisc label. Additional music was made available by Putumayo World Music at Putumayo.com. For more music information, please visit Bioneers.org
The opinions expressed in The Bioneers Revolution from the Heart of Nature radio series are those of the presenters and are not necessarily those of Collective Heritage Institute, the underwriters, or this radio station.
My name is Neil Harvey. Thank you for listening. I invite you to join the Bioneers in inspiring a shift to live on Earth in ways that honor the web of life, each other and future generations.
This is program number 07-11
28:06 Closing underwriting narration: (00:24)
This program was made possible in part by Organic Valley Family of Farms. Organic and family-owned since 1988. Learn more at organicvalley.coop. Also by Park Foundation, dedicated to heightening public awareness of critical issues. As well as by the generous support of listeners like you.
00:00 Promo - Narration 01 (00:05)
This week on the Bioneers: Revolution from the Heart of Nature:
00:05 xxx promo cut (00:10)
00:15 Narration 02 (00:10)
I'm Neil Harvey. Please join us this week when our guests will be _____________, It's ____________________________ on The Bioneers: Revolution from the Heart of Nature.
00:25 Theme Music Bed (00:00:05)