An "independent scholar" for the past 50 years, Allan Savory fully understands that armies, invasions and disease always have changed religious and political cultures in any given place.
Yet, he explains, through all the upheaval, there has remained one constant: People have continued to occupy that place.
"But," he says, "if the environment fails ... without food and water, the land gets abandoned."
In 1984, Savory and his wife, Jody Butterfield, co-founded Holistic Management International, located in Albuquerque, N.M., and a sister organization, The Africa Centre for Holistic Management, in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
According to Savory, the organizations aim to find ways for civilization to self-sustain for more than 10,000 years, without having to transport food and water considerable distances. Denver, Albuquerque and Phoenix are examples of cities sustained only by bringing food and oil in from distances greater than 1,000 miles.
A method called "holistic decision making" factors into Savory's equation for self-sustainability.
"Through studying the problem of desertification, I looked at what all of science blames it on over-population, over-grazing." he says. "And by accident, rather than wisdom, I realized what was causing it is the way humans make decisions."
Examples of these decisions are burning a forest, growing corn or buying a pickup, all of which, he says, "are human decisions made in exactly the same way toward an objective."
HMI proposes an alternative to the farming methods that have caused civilizations to fail in the past. And, Savory says, this alternative "is being used by thousands of ranchers and is spreading rapidly."
For his work to help the environment on a global scale, Savory received the 2003 International Banksia Environmental Award for "Miracles in Science." His CC presentation, part of the school's "Food Chained" series, will discuss some ways people can individually fight environmental degradation.
Topics will include buying organic foods and grass-fed organic meats that are not produced in industrial factories. He'll also challenge the public to demand electricity be produced with resources other than fossil fuels, such as oil, coal and gas, which are "overloading the atmosphere with carbon dioxide."
Savory says the fossil-fuel industry will attempt to sway the public in much the same manner the tobacco companies have, in order to "keep profits going."
"I want people to become more aware and better informed," he says. "The government will never do anything about it until the public demands it."
Savory refers to Al Gore's Academy Award-winning film An Inconvenient Truth to illustrate the "environmental destruction on a global scale" happening to the planet, adding that "global warming is finally causing the world to wake up to the danger."
"Restoring Global Health: A Revolutionary Pathway for the Next Generation"
Gates Common Room in the Colorado College Palmer Hall, 1025 N. Cascade Ave.
Thursday, March 29, 7:30 p.m.
Free; call 389-6607 for more.