Sunday, September 13, 2009

Father of the "Green Revolution" Dies

Nobel prize winner, Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, knew that his work - harnessed incorrectly - could help destroy mankind. Before he died in Dallas last night, he saw his warning ignored.

Dr. Borlaug received the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize for advances in plant breeding that enabled desperate regions of the world to feed themselves.

“More than any other single person of this age, he has helped provide bread for a hungry world,” the Nobel committee said in presenting him with the Peace Prize. “We have made this choice in the hope that providing bread will also give the world peace.”

...The Green Revolution eventually came under attack from environmental and social critics who said it had created more difficulties than it had solved. Dr. Borlaug responded that the real problem was not his agricultural techniques, but the runaway population growth that had made them necessary.

If the world population continues to increase at the same rate, we will destroy the species,” he declared.

Today the Green Revolution is beginning to backfire in India which created decades of food surpluses and runaway population growth by adopting the new crops. That, in turn, required the use of massive quantities of fertilizer and even more massive supplies of groundwater. The soil has become so exhausted by overcultivation that now Indian farmers require twice the original amounts of fertilizers while, at the same time, they're beginning to deplete their groundwater resources just as precipitation patterns are shifting due to global warming.

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