Monday, February 9, 2009

The Green Revolution: Outdated practices or Money making scam

Both in class and in the readings we have talked alot about the green revolution but mainly its impact in a negative way. Personally I believe that over use to agrochemicals and the loss of biodiversity is doing more harm then good but was the system bad at the start or was it manipulated and abused by others to turn a profit?

I always joke about how anything I like eventually "sells out" and becomes garbage. A good example of selling out is the current craze of taking a comic book or graphic novel and making it into a movie. This isn't a new thing, comics have been given movie deals since before we were born but the movies were of very popular and mainstream comics. Now Hollywood has caught on and moved into more grittier comics that usually only hard core comic fans know about. Movie companies have made millions off of movies based off less traditional comics. Now, whenever I see a new comic to movie adaptation I just realize I can just read the original source which is usually better instead of watching a move that is sub-par. This model of good with less profits to bad with more profits could easily be used on a multitude to different products, including food production.

The history of the green revolution starts with a man from rural Wisconsin. Norman Borlaug is considered to be the father of the green revolution for basically setting up it's practices in Mexico then using them in other areas in Asia. Borlaug grew up during the great depression where hunger was rampant. Also the great dustbowl wasn't too far away. It would be fair to assume Borlaug wanted to end those problems and used the means at his disposal. I am not saying that as time progressed the idea of the green revolution wasn't taken and used for other purposes but that at one time it was an idea to help those who need to stabilize and increase food production. This loss of commercial neutrality was in the early forties when Borlaug begain working for DuPont. The second a scientist, who works in any field, begins to work out side of the academic world their personal credibility comes into question because money comes into play, which changes everything.

So lets get down to business, the green revolution was ment to help increase crop yeilds, so those countries that needed more food could get it, which should have, in turn, lead to countries becoming more independant. In reality the practices that were set up relied on the heavey use of agro chemicals and engineered crops. This lead to crop monocultures and the rise of agro chemical companies which lead to the use of the technology to produce cash crops which lead to the need to have staple crops imported. Instead of food sovereignty most countries are chained down due to the economics of agriculture.

In conclusion, the green revolution was really a failure on a global scale that effected almost every country in the world. It failed becasue of the almighty dollar. If research on such important topics was left to the higher education institutions and funded by the government profit wouldn't fit into the equation. The green revolution needs to be fixed, not stopped. any technology, with enough ingenuity and elbow grease can be changed to work the way it should, for the betterment of humanity.

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