30th January 2013
Borlaug is an eighty-two-year-old plant breeder who for most of the past five decades has lived in developing nations, teaching the techniques of high-yield agriculture. He received the Nobel in 1970, primarily for his work in reversing the food shortages that haunted India and Pakistan in the 1960s. Perhaps more than anyone else, Borlaug is responsible for the fact that throughout the postwar era, except in sub-Saharan Africa, global food production has expanded faster than the human population, averting the mass starvations that were widely predicted — for example, in the 1967 best seller Famine — 1975! The form of agriculture that Borlaug preaches may have prevented a billion deaths.
Yet although he has led one of the century’s most accomplished lives, and done so in a meritorious cause, Borlaug has never received much public recognition in the United States, where it is often said that the young lack heroes to look up to. One reason is that Borlaug’s deeds are done in nations remote from the media spotlight: the Western press covers tragedy and strife in poor countries, but has little to say about progress there. Another reason is that Borlaug’s mission — to cause the environment to produce significantly more food—has come to be seen, at least by some securely affluent commentators, as perhaps better left undone. More food sustains human population growth, which they see as antithetical to the natural world.
In other words, the Enviro-nazis and their krewe hate him because he stands in the way of their turning the world into a human-free zone.
Imagine how much better life would be if all of those who worry about too many humans being on the planet decided to Do The Right Thing and subtract themselves from the gene pool. The world would have fewer people and we wouldn’t have to put up with all of their whining. Win-win!