Norman Borlaug (March 25, 1914 - September 12, 2009)
Norman Borlaug accepting Congressional Gold Medal
from President George W. Bush (July 17, 2007)
"When the wheat is ripening properly, when the wind is blowing across the field, you can hear the beards of the wheat rubbing together. They sound like the pine needles in a forest. It is a sweet, whispering music that once you hear, you never forget."
It could have been the picture on some tattered old travel poster blowing in the wind: Visit Mexico in the Fall.
It was long ago and we were on our way to see the fabled
And then, like a dream, acres of bright green fields appeared, their stalks of grain waving in the wind, and in the middle of this postcard view, a great Victorian mansion. Then it was all gone, and once again we were rolling past much the same scrawny fields that had come before. Only later did we learn that we'd just passed a Mennonite colony.
That's what all
I must have said all that aloud, because another tourist sitting beside us chimed in: "I didn't come to
No, he'd come to see the real, unchanging
It occurred to me that, if I were to escort our traveling companion back to the rear platform of the train, I might be able to kick his ample backside all the way down the first arroyo we passed, and neither
Confronted by abject poverty, and faces so drained by it they didn't have even the energy to express desperation, there will always be those who rhapsodize from afar over the indigenous culture, the romantic life of the campesinos, the glories of La Raza and all that. They are usually accompanied by a guitar or ideology. But others see the same scenes and ask: What can be done about it?
One of those others was
How sum up the magnitude of the transformation this one man wrought? Maybe by starting with
If that's so, what is one to say of a man whose work painted whole swaths of the planet green?
To cite one index of the change this one man wrought: In 1950, the world produced 692 million tons of grain for its 2.2 billion people. By 1992, after
His work would take root, literally, at a time when "experts" were predicting worldwide famine. As in the best-selling, supposedly scientific work, "Famine, 1975!" Its authors may even have had a point at the time; they just didn't count on another natural phenomenon: the ingenuity of man, as exemplified by one stubborn American agronomist. What a piece of work is man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty!
In the course of his work in
He found such arguments less than convincing. Or as he put it, direct as ever, "some of the environmental lobbyists of the Western nations are the salt of the earth, but many of them are elitists. They've never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in
Which is what I should have told my fellow passenger aboard the Chihuahua al Pacifico so many years ago.
Norman Borlaug: Population Growth Requires Second Green Revolution
Norman Borlaug Nobel Laureate Interview
Norman Borlaug is known as the father of the Green Revolution. His work with high-yield, disease-resistant wheat varieties is credited with saving as many as a billion people from starvation worldwide. Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 in recognition of his contributions to world peace through increasing food supply. At age 95, a recent interview ...
Interview with India's Environment Minister
India and China have long maintained their economic growth will suffer if they accept binding emission targets under an international agreement on climate change. Instead, they have called for mitigation commitments by the developed world and financial support from rich countries to help developing countries adapt to climate change.
American religious traditions have emerged as a large part of the environmental movement. The stepped-up environmental efforts of religious groups in Washington have paralleled a grass-roots effort among religious Americans to green their congregations.
A Fishy Tale - California Uproar over Water
Victor Davis Hanson
Nearly a quarter-million acres worth of federal irrigation deliveries have been cut from big farms of the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. The water in large part is being diverted to the salty San Francisco Bay and the delta to improve marine ecology. The result is that many crops have gone unplanted. Farm income is down. Thousands of farm laborers are unemployed. Growers and workers are now livid at environmentalists, federal bureaucrats and judges for worrying more about fish than about people and food growing
Even Skeptics Should Heed These Climate-Change Warnings
To Global Warming Holdouts and Oil Drilling Enthusiasts: OK, maybe you don't care or believe that within a couple of generations global warming's effects on sea levels will swamp the world's coastlines, displacing hundreds of millions of people. However, you might want to get behind the push for alternative energy and a reduced carbon 'bootprint,' because our military says it's essential for American security
(c) 2009 Paul Greenberg