There’s a new series on PBS called Earth: A New Wild. It takes a look at how, while totally wild places no longer really exist on the earth, the animals are being forced to deal with all the humans. This means that there is “a new wild.”
On the Plains episode, they featured a barefooter.
First, the show premiered last Wednesday on PBS with two shows, Home and Plains. In each episode they feature some particular environment on the earth. (This Wednesday they look at Forests.)
On the Plains episode, one of the people they featured was Allan Savory, the promulgator of a controversial theory that places like the African Savannah or the Great Plains can probably support quite a bit more grazing, despite the fact that they appear to be overgrazed already.
It’s all in how you do it. The basic idea is that without predators, the animals spread out and don’t do as good of a job returning nutrients to the soil. But with predators (or humans acting like them), the grazers are force to stay together, graze one small spot, break the crust with their hooves (like a hoe), and leave their feces there, too. They eat their food and do the work to replant it. Then they move on.
We are introduced to him early on in Plains.
Allan Savory really likes elephants, and they show him walking around with one rather often. Of course, while most people would notice the elephant, I notice the bare feet. Interestingly, the program showed him barefoot but never mentioned the fact. It is just accepted (as we wish it always was).
At least for now, you can see the full episode of Plains here on the PBS site. (I don’t know if this will work for those outside the U. S.)
He clearly goes barefoot nearly all the time. He has that walk, and he can non-chalantly walk on most surfaces. He was born in Zimbabwe back when it was Rhodesia; going barefoot was just a way of life, and he clearly didn’t give it up as he got older.
He even gave a TED talk:
His theories are not without controversy. Two rebuttals are Cows Against Climate Change: The Dodgy Science Behind the TED Talk, and on Slate, All Sizzle and No Steak.
The examples given in Plains seemed to be working, but we have no idea how much that was selected just for the show.
Back to Allan. There is a youtube video available that shows his home in Africa.
He spends about half his time there; the rest of the time he lives in Albuquerque. (I have no idea whether he continues to go barefoot in Albuquerque, and if so, how he deals with the American Attitude.) Again, we get to see him just living barefoot. Here he is about to show us their bathroom:
Later, he and his wife also show off their outside patio with firepit. Again, of course he is barefoot.
Allan seems like a very interesting character. He has a lot of experience with wildlife and wildlife management. It would be great if his ideas really can save a lot of wildlife.
And in the meantime, the fact that he does all this barefoot can both encourage the rest of us and maybe show the world that it is possible.