Saturday, September 12, 2009
Norman Borlaug -- RIP
Norman Borlaug saved the world, and many Americans don't even know who he is. Borlaug is an American hero, yet American schoolchildren are not taught about him in school.
Now he has passed on, at the age of 95, succumbing to complications of cancer in Dallas, Texas. All the necessary obituaries will be run around the country and those who read the obits will be educated about a great man and his service to the world.
Borlaug single-handedly disproved (or at least delayed) Malthusian theories of ultimate economic doom.
In 1968, Paul Ehrlich's book 'The Population Bomb' predicted global catastrophe due to overpopulation. The human race was breeding itself into extinction, Ehrlich said, and a desperate campaign of population control was necessary to stop it. Ehrlich claimed that the global population was growing faster than global food production rates and pointed to the inability of India to feed itself as proof of his theories. Little did he know he was being proven wrong even as he wrote his book.
In the 1960s, Norman Borlaug almost single-handedly began the 'green revolution' in agricultural science. His 'dwarfing' process (among other breakthroughs) changed farming completely. Ironically, his 'revolution' began in 1965. Three years before Ehrlich's book.
Today, food production outstrips population growth by quite a bit. While famine is still with us, the leading cause is political instability and corruption interfering with effective distribution.
Instead of arguing whether or not to teach 'creation science', don't you think our schools should be teaching young Americans about the Americans scientist who saved the world?
Update: Conservative crusader Jenn Q Public has taken note of Dr. Borlaug's passing as well. Though she takes some pointed shots at environmentalists in her own writing that I cannot completely endorse, it's hard to deny the lack of respect for Dr. Borlaug's work in some circles. The viciousness of some of the more ignorant comments on the Huffington Post's obituary for the great man is simply astounding. Any self proclaimed 'environmentalist' who stakes out a position that the lives of one billion human beings were not worth saving because of the 'overpopulation' to which Borlaug's work has led (in their somewhat ignorant view) is occupying the same ground as the advocates of big business who deny global warming in order to justify their profits or the 'Christians' who oppose abortion to save the life and health of a 9 year old rape victim.
All are fools and villains together.