The Green Revolution Essay Example

  • Category: History,
  • Words: 865 Pages: 4
  • Published: 18 March 2021
  • Copied: 108

“Since 1970, hunger in the developing world has more than halved” (Fast Company). The years 1964-1965 displayed the birth of the Green Revolution, a movement created using fertilizers and pesticides to increase crop production in developing countries. Although the use of strong chemical fertilizers and pesticides caused damage in the environments of developing countries living through their Green Revolution, ultimately the saving of large numbers of populations shows the necessity for the use of those harmful chemicals. 

The history of world hunger in the 20th century prior to the Green Revolutions reveals larger issues that populations of developing countries dealt with. Developing countries are agriculturally poor and aim for technological and economic advances. Countries are either developing or have developed. By these definitions countries that are technically “developing” will always be changing. In the 60s, developing countries at the time issued concerns with hunger across populations. Although the issue of hunger has been exhibited throughout the globe, developing countries particularly dealt with the matter.  However the 20th century presented a more global issue and in 1960, world hunger appeared prevalent as much as, “1 in 3 people [were] hungry” (Bread). A modern agricultural change would change the course of many lives and many families. Developing countries faced a “rapid decline in mortality” following the second World War (Britannica). Decreasing living conditions coupled with no lack of fertility leads to the simple outcome of an increasing population number. By the year 1960, the population was growing and only increasing in rate. Rates had increased as high as “3 percent a year” (Britannica). The mid to late years of the 60s experienced the largest increase in population surges. Growing populations will continue to need an increase in food production. A shift in development in food shows necessary changes to be implemented in order to assist the greater population. 

The necessity for an increase in food production allowed room for a growth in scientific discovery. The introduction of new technology and agricultural scientists, the most prominent being Norman Ernest Borlaug, was the sole reason for the Green Revolution occurring. Major success scientifically came in terms of research found to “produce an increased amount of grain per acre planted” (Briney). More thought was put into how food was developed in order to maximize production. Simple ideas such as planting larger seeds proved to drastically change the amount of foods produced. Larger seeds lead to larger above ground weight in turn resulting in increased use of photosynthesis. Borlaug also bred plants to show no sensitivity to day length. Plants were then not limited to where they were being bred ultimately doubling food production. However, a moral dilemma arose through all the success, the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. While many farmers claim the importance of fertilizers to assist their soil, many environmentalists argue that they are doing more harm than good to the environment. Pollution to all forms of waterways are seen especially with the increasing use of fertilizers. These waterways appear to be hindered by the formation of algae blooms which can potentially be “big enough to make waterways impassable” (Scientific). Adding onto the problems with algae, once dead they appear to sink to the bottom which “removes oxygen from the water” leading to fish and other aquatic animals to not be able to survive in the water anymore (Scientific). In contrast to the methods of Norman Borlaug, organic farmers do exist by using composted manure rather than fertilizer. Notably, Borlaug himself was an advocate for the use of manure but the issue arose in how to get a copious amount of the waste. Accessibility wise, fertilizer was the clear choice. Morally if Borlaug’s actions were correct by his use of chemicals by saving millions of lives changes depending on who is being asked. Accusing the factor of fertilizers, Borlaug’s discoveries of new plant breeding technology showed to radically modify the process of food production in developing countries. His work paved the way for saving millions of lives all over the world in different countries and continents. 

Norman Borlag’s discoveries particularly affected countries with larger populations. Contrary to the belief that countries within Asia experienced the majority of growth during the start of Borlaug’s research, Latin America was actually where it all started. Specifically the third largest country within Latin America, Mexico, had been the birthplace and the model for the Green Revolution. The year sparking the beginning of the Revolution showed large success in Mexico. In 1963, the birth year of the Revolution, “95% of Mexico’s wheat fields were growing the new seeds'' (Burton). Mexico was ahead of every other developing country and appeared as a test country. This time revealed abundant food production across the country and the process was ready to reach other developing countries. Starting in 1965, just twenty-one years later, India had experienced a wheat production increase by 400% (Burton). At this year, India was facing exponentially growing population numbers by decade and was in massive need for assistance. As much as up to one billion people in India were saved from starvation following the Revolution (Norman). Aside from wheat production as seen in Mexico, India had more success with rice. Since the discovery of changing rice production, India has found themself as one of the largest rice producers in the world (Briney). Borlaug’s birth of the Green Revolutions in large populated countries titles him to have saved potentially the most lives than anyone else in history. India and Mexico especially contribute to his savior of up to one billion lives. 

The effects of agricultural scientific advancements did not stop at largely populated countries. Many smaller countries had experienced just as significant revolutions themselves.

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