Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, the father of the “Green Revolution” and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, was honored with the Prometheus Award at the recent 20th anniversary dinner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, headed by Fred Smith. If you don’t know of Dr. Borlaug, that is an indictment of our media.
Bruce Alberts, president of the National Academy of Sciences USA, has said that some credit Borlaug “with saving more human lives than any other person in history.” Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty signed a bill designating October 16 as a day in honor of Dr. Borlaug, noting that his work “has resulted in saving millions of human lives by averting famine and alleviating hunger and malnutrition.” Over the course of his career, he has been awarded 52 honorary doctorate degrees.
Incredibly, he is now 90 years old and still traveling around the world trying to save lives. He gave a speech at the CEI event that was truly inspiring. The liberals, of course, frequently complain about poverty and hunger. They even say that these problems breed terrorism. On that basis, they should honor Dr. Borlaug and try to expand his work. But many of them act scared of biotechnology and “genetically modified foods.” They call them “Frankenfoods” and try to frighten consumers into not buying them. Dr. Borlaug says biotechnology increases crop yields, feeds more people, and lessens harm to the environment.
As he put it in a November 2002 interview with actionbioscience.org, “Biotechnology helps farmers produce higher yields on less land?If we had continued practicing conventional farming, we would have cut down millions of acres of forest, thereby destroying wildlife habitat, in order to increase cropland to produce enough food for an escalating population. And we would have to use more herbicides in more fields, which would damage the environment even more. Technology allows us to have less impact on soil erosion, biodiversity, wildlife, forests, and grasslands.”
In a fascinating article recently in the St. Paul Pioneeer Press, Jim Ragsdale noted that Borlaug, a University of Minnesota graduate, was honored by the Minnesota legislature. During his visit to the Capitol, he was asked about organic food production. “Let’s take the case of organic fertilizer,” Borlaug said. “Use all of it that’s there, but don’t come and give the Third World nations the feeling that they could produce the food that they need on worn-out soils with organic manure. There just isn’t enough.” Organic farming is, of course, one of the preferred options of the radical environmentalists. But Borlaug says it won’t feed enough people. He says we have to use chemical fertilizers and biotechnology, unless of course you want millions or even billions of people to continue to starve to death.
The liberals in the media want us to believe that they are compassionate but they resist using the techniques, such as biotechnology, that can save lives. They also resist the use of DDT to kill mosquitoes that carry deadly malaria and kill millions of black Africans. The liberals have bleeding hearts but other people far away do the real bleeding and dying.