Restore the Prairies, Reverse Climate Change

Restore the Prairies, Reverse Climate Change


The Project:

I find that most people, aware and despairing about Climate Change, are in a state of paralysis. It is clear that simply recycling our own cans and addressing our personal “carbon footprints” alone is not enough to address the climate disasters we are experiencing and facing. Yet most of us don’t know about the robust, well-studied, and practiced solutions to climate change that already exist. My series on Climate Solutions is intended to educate and inspire real, concrete action and change. “Restore the Prairies” is the first piece in this series. 

A QR code is intentionally part of this image, so that viewers may scan it and be directed towards a host of resources, including concrete ways to take action and make a difference. 

The Solution:

For thousands of years, indigenous people across the great plains and prairies of North America have stewarded the land. Their methods include cultivating and harvesting enormous herds of Bison, and regularly burning prairie grasses to improve biodiversity. This has resulted in some of the richest soil on Earth, a durable and expandable carbon sink, and a regenerative food supply. 

How it works:

  • Restoring land to Indigenous ownership, control, sovereignty, and stewardship is an essential movement towards justice, often known as LandBack. In the late 1880s, the United States Government attempted to eradicate the bison intentionally, in order to decimate and control Indigenous native americans. We can and should cede land back to native tribes. We can and should trust indigenous communities to steward the land and the bison - and doing so would be a gift to us all. 
  • Bison are a keystone species of the prairie: unlike cattle, their grazing behavior preserves and promotes native grasses; their wallowing behavior creates miniature oases for water capture and propagation of diverse prairie wildlife; their hooves aerate the soil and enhance water penetration instead of compacting it; their manure and migration patterns fertilize and enrich the soil. They are a food source which enhances carbon capture, in contrast to conventional agriculture, which is a massive contributor to climate change.
  • By honoring and following Indigenous leadership, by supporting Indigenous communities in restoring bison to the prairie, we can restore the great prairies. Not only do prairies host vast biodiversity, they durably capture carbon below ground (even more so than forests) in ways that are resistant to cycles of burning, enhance water capture and filtration, and boost soil richness.


Actions you can take: 

  • Call and write your elected officials and tell them you care about Climate Change. Inform them about this solution. Find out who your electeds are and get their contact information here
  • If you eat meat, eat more bison! Buy it at your local grocery or consider ordering frozen meat from a regenerative source. Force of Nature is a great option. 
  • Volunteer and/or donate resources and money to a Native-led organization.
    • Spirit of the Sun  empowers Native communities, one youth at a time in Denver, CO
    • Cultural Survival amplifies and supports Native-led projects
    • RAVEN provides legal support to Native communities fighting for their land and (all of our) environmental rights
  • Learn More! There are some great resources below:


Learn More:

Restore Indigenous Leadership:


Restore the Bison:

Restore the Prairies, Reverse Climate Change:

The interior of a shadowbox, in which two bison bask in the prairie below a beaded sun. Below them vast and deep plant roots are visible, some represented by swinging tassles.

  •  Above image: "Bison Shadow Box" Mixed media, by Leah Bry 2023


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