Allan Savory was born 1935 in Rhodesia and educated in South Africa at the University of Natal with a BS in Zoology and Botany. He pursued an early career as a research biologist and game ranger in the British Colonial Service of what was then Northern Rhodesia (today Zambia) and later as a farmer and game rancher in Zimbabwe.
In the 1960s, while working on the interrelated problems of increasing poverty and disappearing wildlife, Allan made a major breakthrough in understanding why his country and the African continent was degrading and why the landscapes were rapidly desertifying and, as a resource management consultant, worked with numerous managers on four continents to develop what is now known as Holistic Management.
Allan identified key insights critical to the regeneration of land, people, and individual and national prosperity. He went on to work as a resource management strategist on four continents, developing sustainable solutions to land management problems. His work and profile led him to serve as a Member of Parliament in the latter days of Zimbabwe’s civil war where, for seven years, he became the leader of the combined opposition parties o the ruling party headed by Ian Smith. Exiled in 1979 as a result of his opposition, he immigrated to the United States, where he continued to work with land managers through his consulting business. The growth of that business, a desire to assist many more people and the need for furthering his work led him to continue its development in the nonprofit world.
In 1992, Savory and his wife, Jody Butterfield, formed a non-profit organization in Zimbabwe, the Africa Centre for Holistic Management, donating a ranch that would serve as a learning site for people all over Africa. In 2009, Savory, Butterfield, and a group of colleagues co-founded the Savory Institute in Boulder, Colorado to serve the world through an international network of entrepreneurial innovators and leaders committed to serving their regions with the highest standards of Holistic Management training and implementation support. In 2013, the Africa Centre became the first of the Savory Institute’s locally led and managed “Savory Hubs.”
Savory’s book, Holistic Management, Third Edition: A Commonse Revolution to Restore Our Environment (Island Press, 2016), describes his effort to find workable solutions ordinary people could implement to overcome many of the problems besetting communities and businesses today.
In 2003, Allan Savory received Australia’s International Banksia Award “for the person or organization doing the most for the environment on a global scale,” and in 2010 Savory (and the Africa Centre) received the Buckminster Fuller Institute’s Challenge award for work that has “significant potential to solve humanity’s most pressing problems.” A TED talk Savory gave in 2013 has received 8 million views and in 2014 was voted one of the 50 most intriguing TED talks of all time.