Cows Save the Planet.

Author:Rabe, Kristen
Position:Book review

Judith D. Schwartz (author); COWS SAVE THE PLANET; Chelsea Green Publishing (Nonfiction: Ecology & Environment) 17.95 ISBN: 9781603584326

Byline: Kristen Rabe

Diverse, approachable book outlines creative solutions to improving the quality of land and food.

Could it really be this easy? Improve soil fertility, preserve biodiversity, reduce obesity, and halt climate change by having more cows graze more land to help "fix" more carbon into the soil? Well, solving the world's problems may not be quite that easy, but journalist Judith Schwartz raises these and many equally intriguing questions in Cows Save the Planet: And Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth.

Her book focuses on sustaining and improving the quality of soil, as well as the economic, environmental, and societal benefits we could realize by making that change. Around the globe, topsoil is lost at an alarming rate: up to forty times faster than we're generating it (in China and India, particularly). The consequences include a rapid increase in deserts, droughts, floods, and wildfires, not to mention a loss in the fertility of soil and the nutritional quality of food.

The losses occur rapidly, but the solutions can work almost as quickly. The soil can be rebuilt from the bottom up, and nature can heal itself with surprising efficiency. For instance, undergrazing can damage the soil as much as overgrazing. Study the historical movements of herds of grazing animals over the grasslands and plains of much of the globe...

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