top of page


Cows Save the Planet: And Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth

Publish date:
April 1, 2013
Cows Save the Planet: And Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth

In Cows Save the Planet, journalist Judith D. Schwartz looks at soil as a crucible for our many overlapping environmental, economic, and social crises. Schwartz reveals that for many of these problems―climate change, desertification, biodiversity loss, droughts, floods, wildfires, rural poverty, malnutrition, and obesity―there are positive, alternative scenarios to the degradation and devastation we face. In each case, our ability to turn these crises into opportunities depends on how we treat the soil.

Drawing on the work of thinkers and doers, renegade scientists and institutional whistleblowers from around the world, Schwartz challenges much of the conventional thinking about global warming and other problems. For example, land can suffer from undergrazing as well as overgrazing, since certain landscapes, such as grasslands, require the disturbance from livestock to thrive. Regarding climate, when we focus on carbon dioxide, we neglect the central role of water in soil―"green water"―in temperature regulation. And much of the carbon dioxide that burdens the atmosphere is not the result of fuel emissions, but from agriculture; returning carbon to the soil not only reduces carbon dioxide levels but also enhances soil fertility.

Cows Save the Planet is at once a primer on soil's pivotal role in our ecology and economy, a call to action, and an antidote to the despair that environmental news so often leaves us with.

Author Website
Author Location
Judith D. Schwartz
Livestock refers to domesticated animals that are raised for various purposes, primarily for food production, but also for their labor, fiber, or other products. Livestock includes animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry (chickens, turkeys, ducks), and horses, among others.
Regenerative Agriculture
Grain-Fed Beef
Grain-fed beef refers to cattle that are raised on a diet primarily composed of grains, such as corn or soybeans, instead of their natural diet of grass. This type of feeding regimen is commonly practiced in industrialized or intensive farming operations. The purpose of grain feeding is to promote rapid weight gain in cattle, resulting in larger and more marbled cuts of meat. The grains provide a concentrated source of energy, enabling the animals to put on weight quickly. This method of feeding can significantly shorten the time it takes for cattle to reach market weight compared to grass-fed cattle. Grain-fed beef is known for its tenderness and a richer flavor due to the higher fat content. The increased marbling, or intramuscular fat, contributes to the juiciness and flavor profile of the meat. The fat content also affects the cooking process, making it easier to achieve desired levels of doneness. However, it's important to note that grain feeding also has some criticisms. Some argue that grain-fed beef may have a less favorable fatty acid profile compared to grass-fed beef. Grass-fed beef tends to have a higher proportion of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids and a more balanced omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. Additionally, there are concerns about the environmental impact of intensive grain feeding, including land use, water consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions associated with grain production.
Grass-Fed Beef
Grass-fed beef refers to meat derived from cattle that have been raised primarily on a diet of grass or forage throughout their lives. The term "grass-fed" typically implies that the cattle have been allowed to graze on pasture for most of their lives, as opposed to being fed a diet primarily composed of grains or other supplements.
History Entries - 10 per page
Comments - Add your own review
bottom of page