Speakers

We will be adding confirmed speakers every week.

 

Dalmas Tiampati

It’s difficult for us to imagine how it must feel to see your family and friends hungry, thirsty, and dying. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to see one after one of your precious animals die of thirst. But after being thrown into a drought of unprecedented severity this is exactly what Dalmas and many of his Maasai community had to endure.

Having practiced his traditional rites as a Maasai young man, Dalmas went to a local rural primary school and then continued on to Moi University to complete Bachelors and Masters Degrees. He then worked at a public university for seven years but it wasn’t long before he felt a loss of identity and a deep longing for his old home and life.

He recounts: ‘I love my culture, I love livestock, especially cattle and sheep and I felt the only life for me was to go back to the village and be a herder. This is a life of peace and fulfillment.’

The Maasai people of East Africa live in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania along the Great Rift Valley on semi-arid and arid lands. The Maasai occupy a total land area of 160,000 square kilometers with an estimated population of 841,622 people. Dalmas is from Kajiado County in Kenya.

The Maasai, are pastoralists which means they graze animals for both income and food. Their grasslands have long supported a semi-nomadic lifestyle that provides a healthy diet of meat, milk, herbal soup, some honey, and occasionally fresh blood – the perfect ‘primal diet,’ This nutrient-dense high protein diet has produced some of the world’s finest human physical specimens. Maasai people are renowned for being very tall and muscular, practically disease-free and definitely win the prize for biggest warm smile full of perfect pearly teeth!

The traditional Maasai sense of community is incredibly strong, is well organized and usually functions harmoniously. The women are responsible for the homes – simple ‘kraals’ of mud, sticks, grass, and dung arranged in a circle surrounded by protective thorns – collecting water and milking livestock. The men offer protection and security as warriors or wisdom and organizational structure as elders. Boys are traditionally responsible for herding the cattle, sheep, and goats with the help of the warriors when droughts of trouble take them further afield or if families decide to send the boys to school.

Dalmas says: ‘The leader of each age set is selected by elders who scrutinize family background and genealogy to see whether the potential candidates’ families are people who love peace and justice and show qualities of braveness.’

As healthy people, medical intervention is rarely required however highly effective treatments even for fractures and tumors – come in the form of herbal remedies; the skills of healers are still highly valued above and beyond more Westernised forms of medicine.

So Dalmas started a plan to leave his employment and return to be a Maasai herder and raise grass-fed beef cattle in the traditional pastoral system. He took a bank loan and managed to accumulate enough money to build a herd of 127 cows, he resigned from his job and returned to his Maasai community.

Dalmas remembers: ‘The community was so happy and our elders really loved that, after getting a University degree I was coming home and investing in our village. I become a role model for our young people and was highly respected for understanding what is really important in life; community, good health, and a sense of identity.’

But after several dry years the ultimate disaster struck, the drought became so severe that everything changed. The watering holes, rivers, and wells dried up and the animals – the main source of nutrition for the Maasai – started to die. Eventually, 90% of all the livestock belonging to the community died; Dalmas was left with only 14 cows.

Dalmas remembers: ‘my community was reduced to beggars who depended on food relief to survive, this food was poor quality and a very different from what we were used to so made us sick. I saw children die of malnutrition and lack of water and old people dying of starvation.’ ‘People started coming to me for help, I had a little money so helped buy food, but the food was being sold expensively by exploitative business people who hoarded it in order to raise demand to increase their profits.’

Even though Dalmas lost his livestock along with it his dream, he has vowed to help his people protect themselves from future droughts that a changing climate will inevitably strike.

Dalmas has created a non-profit organization called ‘Ildalalekutuk Maasai Action for Development.’ His organization looks for partners to solve the problems and bring about a liberated, independent, and prosperous Maasai society.

One of the core objectives of the resilience measures being investigated is the use of ‘holistic planned grazing’ which has been shown to regenerate grasslands that are turning into desert. Holistic planned grazing makes grasslands more resilient to drought and flooding.

Starhawk

Writer, Teacher and Activist

Starhawk is an American writer, teacher and activist. She is known as a theorist of feminist Neopaganism and ecofeminism. She is a columnist for Beliefnet.com and for On Faith, the Newsweek and Washington Post online forum on religion. Starhawk's book The Spiral Dance (1979) was one of the main inspirations behind the Goddess movement. In 2012, she was listed in Watkins' Mind Body Spirit magazine as one of the 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People.

Peter Rosset

Professor of Agroecology

Peter Rosset is a professor of agroecology at the ECOSUR Advanced Studies Institute in Chiapas, Mexico (www.ecosur.mx), and is in the process of retirement from the staff team of La Via Campesina International (www.viacampesina.org). He is co-author of the book “Agroecology: Science and Politics” (www.fernwoodpublishing.ca/book/agroecology).

Ariel Greenwood

Co-owner/Operator of Grass Nomads LLC

Ariel Greenwood is a grazier and co-owner/operator of Grass Nomads LLC, a livestock management company. She works closely with horses, dogs, and large herds of cattle, and migrates seasonally between ranches along the Rockies in New Mexico and Montana with her partner Sam. Ariel serves on the board of Holistic Management International and Contra Viento Journal.

Tom Duncan

CEO of Earthbanc

Tom Duncan is the CEO of Earthbanc, a Green Digital Banking and Investment Platform that is launching soon and has a crowdfunding campaign at https://earthbanc.io Earthbanc is venture-backed by EIT Climate-KIC Nordic, the co-architects of the multi-trillion European Green New Deal. The climate fintech company is also in a Central Bank Blockchain Fintech Sandbox, which gives it a fast track to digital banking and investment licenses, in addition to issuing green bonds and regenerative land funds directly onto money issuance platforms that Central Banks can utilize. The first green bond that Earthbanc issued is called a Grow Bond, which sequesters 2 tonnes for every $100 invested, via planting mangroves and delivering 75% cheaper finance to small businesses in emerging markets, to support them to plant, protect and maintain the trees. Tom is co-author of 'Regenerating Agriculture to Sustain Civilization' with Allan Savory, and also the author of Pathways to Integrated Ecological Farming, both published in the landmark book 'Land Restoration', 500 pages of the world's leading regeneration experts on practices, principles, and methodologies. The book is used in Universities and Colleges around the world to train the next generation of regenerative farmers and graziers. Tom worked in China with AusAID in 2004, on a massive land and water restoration project covering 18.7 million hectares across the Inner Mongolia Plateau and Northern Central China Plans. His Lunar Calendar was used by 40M farmers across vastly different ecosystems, with handy regenerative management tips for building soil, optimizing plant growth, and managing water systems. He is a Research Fellow at George Mason University, Center for Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution, Advisory Council to Ecosystem Restoration Camps, and Steering Committee at Caux Dialogue on Environment and Security in partnership with UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).