Biologist Allan Savory Wins Buckminster Fuller Challenge


Mid-day yesterday at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., a new winner of the annual Buckminster Fuller Challenge was crowned. This year it’s the Zimbabwean biologist Allan Savory, who won for his concept Operation Hope, a plan that seeks to rebuild damaged or struggling grasslands by using grazing animals to thin out decay and move seed around. The prize, which was created to mirror Fuller’s enthusiasm for problem solving using a variety of methods, awards Savory $100,000 to, presumably, try putting the project into action. Here’s a bit from Architectural Record, who talked to Savory after he won:

While many environmentalists argue that livestock grazing is harmful to the environment, Savory argues that it can have positive effects. The animals eat dead plants, which can block light required to reach seeds. Leaving those plants to decay on their own doesn’t happen fast enough to offset desertification, he says.

The trick is to let grazing animals roam large areas, as they did thousands of years ago, rather than confine them to small parcels, as many industrial farms do. Spreading them out prevents damage to the landscape, he says. Savory even advocates introducing predators like wolves to farms, to insure the herd keeps moving.

Previously on UnBeige:

  • Filmmaker Evan Mather Documents Buckminster Fuller’s Failed Dome
  • Buckminster Fuller: Pack Rat, Friend to Enterprising Children
  • Buckminster Fuller, in His Own Verse