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NORMAN BORLAUG “The Man Who Defused the ‘Population Bomb”’

by on September 16, 2009

Or so anti-environmental columnist Gregg Easterbrook wrote in the Wall Street Journal.  Similar nonsense has been all over the press and blogs, highlighting the utter ignorance of the commentators.  Borlaug indeed was responsible for a heartening increase in food supplies in poor countries, far beyond what many agriculturalists (or I) deemed possible.  But he was also very aware that he was at best buying a few decades to solve the population problem.  In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech he said: “Most people still fail to comprehend the magnitude and menace of the population monster. The rhythm of increase will accelerate . . . unless Man becomes more realistic and preoccupied about his impending doom.”  He added:  “There can be no permanent progress in the battle against hunger until the agencies that fight for increased food production and those that fight for population control unite in a common effort. Fighting alone, they may win temporary skirmishes, but united they can win a decisive and lasting victory to provide food and other amenities of a progressive civilization for the benefit of all mankind.”  Amen.

There have been environmental and social criticisms of the “Green Revolution” he fathered, but there is no doubt that he was a great scientist working hard to save the world from catastrophe.  Now with a record 1.1 billion people hungry and more than two billion expected to be added to the population by mid-century, it’s time that Borlaug’s  “population monster” be taken out of the closet and humane efforts to tame it move to the top of every nation’s agenda — especially that of the United States, the most overpopulated country.

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From → Ehrlich opinion

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