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Volume 11 Issue 4
Nov/December 2005

Holistic Management
Restoring Vitality to Our Natural Resources

Beets! Beets! Beets!

Getting Pro-Active on Breast Health

Cold & Flu Busters: The Natural Approach

Everything That Happens In Life Has a Purpose


The current issue Holistic Management
Restoring Vitality to Our Natural Resources

by Leonard Pigott

In a nutshell, Holistic Management is concerned about the deterioration of our resources (air, soil, and water). We cannot eat the fish out of many of our lakes and rivers; we have to be cautious of our exposure to the sun’s rays as a result of our damaged air; the worst of all is the deterioration of our soil from water and wind erosion due to farming methods. Holistic Management offers a solution to restore vitality to our resources.

Why would a person living in a city be concerned about the deterioration of the soil, for isn’t that the farmer’s problem? Initially it is. The deterioration of the soil leads to loss of soil quality and nutrients. The farmer combats this by adding more fertilizer and other inputs. (This is causing financial crisis for the farmers but this is not what I want to focus on now.) Unfortunately, the fertilizer has not fully corrected for the loss of soil nutrients. There are about sixty nutrients in the soil that go into plants and become our food. A farmer adding fertilizer only replaces four or five of these nutrients, the remaining fifty-five nutrients are still low or deficient. Therefore the greatest concern for you is the deterioration in the quality and nutrient value of your food. You see, if soil has deteriorated and is lacking nutrients then it stands to reason the food you get from that same land is also lacking in nutrients. In today’s society this is contributing to many health problems such as obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

These problems have not occurred overnight. The soil deterioration has been occurring subtly over the last one hundred years and concurrently, so has our health. The farmer’s decision to start tilling the soil one hundred years ago has affected our health. We are all in this world together and the deterioration of our soil has had a big impact on everything!

Who is to blame? Perhaps it is the government and their policies? These problems are happening world-wide under many different kinds of government administrations so, I’m sorry to say, we can’t blame the government. Perhaps it is because our scientists from our universities are giving out errant advice and the farmers are implementing this technology, causing the problem. Well, farmers in Africa do not have access to these technologies and, as already mentioned, they have the same problems there, so we can’t blame the universities and their technologies. I could go on and on about what you think might be causing the problems and dispel them all. So let’s get to the “quick” of this.

What is the common denominator in all of these problems if it is not governments or technology? You have to look hard but the answer is “people”. People are making and have been making decisions for the last one hundred years and Holistic Management research has concluded that this is “the problem”—that the way we make decisions is faulty.

The word “holistic” (or “wholistic”) means the bigger picture, the “whole”, or perhaps you could see it as a network. There are several parts making up the whole. For example, our body, which is made up of parts—arms, legs, heart, head, and so on—is considered a whole. Usually when one part is affected the whole body is affected. For instance, if you have a chest cold, your muscles are sore, your eyes are watery, your nose is plugged, and you have a headache. It would be useless to focus on only one symptom of your cold, such as your plugged nose, when your whole body needs relief. The whole body needs to be cured with plenty of rest, lots of fluids, etc. Similarly we need to adopt this type of thinking in order to manage our resources; that is, to move from making decisions based on parts to making decisions based on the whole.

First, the decision-making process must be explained because most people are not aware of how they make decisions, they just make them. Every decision is based on a goal, or some objective. There are resources and tools used in combination to move towards that goal. For example, farmers use tractors, fuel, and fertilizer (tools) to work the soil (resource) to get to their goal of producing a high-yielding crop. City people work at jobs using a combination of tools and resources to reach their goals of making money to look after their families. In every decision there are tests to determine if the tools you are about to use will take you towards the goal. The farmer asks, “Will these tools give me the desired production?” The city person asks, “Will this job provide enough income for my family?” Then there is a monitoring aspect to every decision. We ask if the combination of tools and resources is actually moving us closer to our goal, and if they are not then adjustments are made. Something is faulty in this decision-making process and the biggest problem is in the goal.

Let us now explore how to make decisions based on the practice of Holistic Management. A goal of production just is not enough. First and foremost our goal should be a statement defining what we wish for our “quality of life” rather than just production. Don’t get me wrong, we still need production, it is just that no tool should be used that is going to cause deterioration to our quality of life. Farmers tilling the soil are not aware that it will eventually and detrimentally affect our quality of life. Tilled soil leads to erosion, which leads to deteriorating soil nutrients, which leads to deteriorated food quality, which leads to our deteriorated health, i.e. quality of life. Our use of detergents, shampoos, toilet bowl cleaners, house cleaners, etc., negatively affect or destroy the many organisms that are important to our health and food sources, which are negatively affecting our quality of life. We see and know that these items (tools) are negatively affecting our quality of life but our addiction to their use is a hard habit to break.

Holistic Management believes in breaking this habit and to start using tools that will not harm our quality of life. Most importantly, the goal has to be written down. Something happens to our mind, body, and spirit when we see our goal in our own hand-writing saying, “Yes, we want to live a long and healthy life in a healthy landscape!”. Unless you have an actual written goal then changes in your decision-making processes will not happen! That is why the world is in so much trouble today. We hold world-wide conferences on global warming and desertification and yet nothing seems to change when the attendees return home. Holistic Management believes nothing changes because people do not have a written goal.

Next we need to educate ourselves to become fully aware that our farm practices and the use of household goods seriously undermine our ability to achieve our goal. This gives us the impetus to start looking for substitutes or other ways to use the tools to achieve our quality of life goal. People who have what we call a written “Holisticgoal”, and who start making decisions that will accomplish this goal, are becoming successful and profitable, and are restoring our deteriorating resources.

Holistic Management is easy to understand but it takes longer than this short introduction to explain it fully. Therefore I urge you to learn more. You can contact me or go to the website, www.holisticmanagement.org, for more information. Allan Savory, the founder of Holistic Management and co-founder of the Center for Holistic Management based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, considers humans, their economies, and the environment as inseparable. The Savory Center’s mission statement is as follows: “The Savory Center works to restore the vitality of communities and the natural resources on which they depend by advancing the practice of Holistic Management and co-ordinating its development worldwide."

Leonard Pigott has land and is a Registered Educator on Holistic Management. He lives with his wife, Janet, near Dysart, SK. Together they raise cows and chickens with their daughter and her family. They can be reached at (306) 432-4583, email: jlpigott@sasktel.net, or www.wholebeefranch.ca. Also see their display ad on page 17 of the 11.4 November/December issue of the WHOLifE Journal.

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