Who here knows who Norman Borlaug is?
I’m ashamed to say I didn’t, until today, although I knew about the circumstances which made his a name worth knowing.
Dr. Norman Borlaug is a 91 year old man from Iowa who has saved over a billion lives.
Let me repeat that. There is man living among us who is responsible for saving over a billion lives.
In the 1960s it was conventional wisdom that the earth could not produce enough food to sustain it’s exploding population, and that megadeaths due to starvation were imminent. Paul Ehrlich wrote a famous book about it called The Population Bomb.
Borlaug proved him wrong. He created new strains of grain and taught the developing world new farming techniques. Agricultural productivity skyrocketed. The predicted famines never materialized. This development came to be known as The Green Revolution.
Productivity continues to go up, with no end in sight, despite the persistent warnings of eternally-wrong doomsayers. At 91, Borlaugh is still working to get the best agricultural technology into the hands of third-world farmers.
There will always be fearmongers among us who make small fortunes by announcing mournfully that we’re doomed and there’s little or nothing that can be done. Thankfully, there will also always be men and women like Borlaugh, who get out there and do something about it, and prove once again the endless resourcefulness of the human race.