Brit Liggett

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We’re thrilled to announce that The Buckminster Fuller Institute has just announced the winner of their third annual Buckminster Fuller Challenge, and this year’s award goes to… Allan Savory for Operation Hope and the Africa Center for Holistic Management! The $100,000 prize will benefit the organization, which has created a whole systems approach to solving one of the world’s most pressing problems: reversing the desertification of ecosystems. Savory developed the Holistic Management concept as a whole systems approach to range management that involves increasing the amount of livestock on a range, expanding biodiversity, improving production, and providing financial security for landowners.

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Operation Hope has successfully reversed desertification on their learning site called the Dimbangombe Ranch in Zimbabwe. The concept is formed around the idea that large herds of animals — which have reduced in numbers over the years — were an essential part of the grasslands ecosystems. The herds have diminished in size and thus ecosystems are faltering. Savory has developed an approach that uses livestock to replace the once ubiquitous herds of grazing animals in order to reboot the ecosystem. Farmers create a plan for livestock grazing in order to make the most of their presence. The livestock’s hooves break up the ground so water can seep through and plants have room in the soil to grow. Their manure fertilizes the ground and increases vegetation. The livestock then graze on the vegetation and keep the grasses at a healthy length and density.

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All of this gives farmers more productive land, allowing a better harvest of crops. Previously, as desertification took hold, communities were moved off their land and violence broke out because of displacement. Savory’s approach to range land management keeps people on their land, sustains communities, improves livelihoods, creates food security and returns ecosystems to their natural state. Considering the range of issues that Savory’s approach deals with and the deep understanding of ecosystems that he brings to the table, it sounds like Operation Hope is well deserving of the 2010 Buckminster Fuller Challenge prize. He has been awarded $100,000 to continue his research.

The Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI) was founded by Bucky’s family in 1983 to carry on his ideas about designing for humanity. Fuller was a whole systems thinker and BFI’s mission is to keep that legacy alive in today’s design world. Allan Savory and Operation Hope are a perfect example of how to solve complex problems by designing for the system instead of its parts.

+ Operation Hope

+ Africa Center for Holistic Management

+ The Buckminster Fuller Challenge

+ See the Other Buckminster Fuller Challenge Finalists

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1 Comment

  1. Brian H March 25, 2011 at 6:42 am

    An award? Of real money? For a sane approach that actually works?

    Something’s very wrong here.

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