Here’s a terrific article, outsourced from The Atlantic, on Norman Borlaug, who, they say, has probably saved more human lives than anyone in history. He is a Nobel Peace Prize winner and gave my Dad a job in 1978. The article discusses (but not in much depth) and derides some of the Green opposition to Borlaug’s intensive-agriculture practices. While that opposition has perhaps on occasion been misguided, its existence was necessary. As I saw in my Dad’s thinking, the community of Agricultural scientists at one point had developed a massive environmental blind spot, and tended to measure success only in terms of yield per hectare. This has produced, along with pretty severe environmental damage, anomalies such as the tasteless pink tomatoes and tasteless shiny apples the supermarkets try to sell you. Having said that, it’s obvious that history will judge Norman Borlaug and his cohort of agronomists pretty favorably; you really can’t argue with saving the lives of a billion or so people.

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March 26, 2005
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