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Norman Borlaug - The Times craps on him

Norman Borlaug saved a billion lives from starvation. But decades on, his farming methods threaten the health of the planet
Graham Harvey

...Though the Green Revolution has undoubtedly given the world more food, it has brought with it worrying consequences. An investigation into agriculture funded by the World Bank concluded that the benefits have been unevenly distributed.

And that is the fault of politicians and their fellow travellers in Africa preventing farmers taking up modern ideas.

.....Growing annual grain crops such as wheat over lengthy periods inevitably leads to soil damage.....

No - I farm on the open fields of Wiltshire which have never been enclosed for livestock, probably been growing continuous crops for 2000 years, maybe twice as long. The soil has never been in better condition, because it is improved scientifically every year.

But there is another more pressing reason for turning away from Borlaug’s grains and making more use of the world’s neglected grasslands. The shift to industrial grain production has added hugely to the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. ...

For all the high hopes of the 1960s, it is hard to see Borlaug’s system as more than a partial success...

Oh just fuck off, a system saves a billion people from death and the Archer's Agricultural Story Editor knows better so he declares it is only a partial success because of he has some unproven worries about the future and a book to sell. Twat.

As Norman Borlaug said himself: They've never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for 50 years, they'd be crying out for tractors and fertilizer and irrigation canals, and be outraged that fashionable elitists were trying to deny them these things.

Comments

'ang on. So if we aren't going to grow grain I assume these people want to use the grasslands to grow cows. I thought cows were supposed to be the biggest environmental threat, what with them farting away the ozone layer and adding to all those greenhouse gases.

You're assuming farmland will be used productively to feed people. No. It is to be a playground for those still alive after the population has been slimmed down a bit by making food more expensive. Besides which, you can't use the grasslands for growing cows. They have a face! Some of them even have names.

The same kind of thinking views the truly Herculean efforts of Norman Borlaug as having caused countless, needless deaths - in that there are maybe tens of millions of people who have died since Borlaug's programmes started who wouldn't have been alive in the first place if it weren't for Borlaug.

The very fact that some GreeNazis despise, fear or even hate Borlaug, shows that he was good and right.

I learn that Paul Ehrlich was execrating humanity, and wanting its demise, the bastard that he is, even after Borlaug's success in Mexico, Pakistan, India and the rest.

There are no conditions under which I, as a libertarian, would be prepared to agree to leniency for such people, in a post-socialist global civilisation of individual sovereign individuals, which _must_ be brought about if humanity is to survive and Go To The Stars.

ok, but would someone explain, then, how is it possible that less and less people work in agriculture (understandable, it's really hard work), meaning more and more agricultural chemicals are needed, meaning more and more people have to work in chemical industry (better paid, too), meaning more and more harmful or outright poisonous (for everyone, not just insects) chemicals are used and enter the food chain... also meaning those who do not or will not use chemicals (smaller farms, mostly) are not competitive and have to quit. Also, how is it favorable, that in some countries there's overproduction (food products that are also potentially harmful, though) and in some countries people still die of hunger. (Probably in others they'll start dieing of carcinogenic or teratogenic chemicals.)
I do not think Borlaug is to be blamed. But I do think the article was a good one.

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