Saturday, December 27, 2008

What one man can do

At a time when doom-sayers were hopping around saying everyone was going to starve, Norman was working. He moved to Mexico and lived among the people there until he figured out how to improve the output of the farmers. So that saved a million lives.

Then he packed up his family and moved to India, where in spite of a war with Pakistan, he managed to introduce new wheat strains that quadrupled their food output. So that saved another million.

You get it? But he wasn't done. He did the same thing with a new rice in China. He's doing the same thing in Afica -- as much of Africa as he's allowed to visit.

When he won the Nobel Prize in 1970, they said he had saved a billion people. That's BILLION! Carl Sagan BILLION with a B! And most of them were a different race from him.

Norman is the greatest human being, and you probably never heard of him.

------ Penn Jillette, of the comedy team Penn and Teller

Though barely known in the country of his birth, elsewhere in the world Norman Borlaug is widely considered to be among the leading Americans of our age ... Norman Borlaug has already saved more lives than any other person who ever lived.

Borlaug is responsible for the fact that throughout the postwar era, except in sub-Saharan Africa, global food production has expanded faster than the human population, averting the mass starvations that were widely predicted -- for example, in the 1967 best seller Famine -- 1975! The form of agriculture that Borlaug preaches may have prevented a billion deaths.

----- Gregg Easterbrook, The Atlantic Monthly

'The battle to feed all of humanity is over," biologist Paul Ehrlich famously wrote in his 1968 bestseller The Population Bomb ... But Borlaug and his team were already engaged in the kind of crash program that Ehrlich declared wouldn't work. Their dwarf wheat varieties resisted a wide spectrum of plant pests and diseases and produced two to three times more grain than the traditional varieties ... Borlaug, who unfortunately is far less well-known than doomsayer Ehrlich, is responsible for much of the progress humanity has made against hunger.

------ Ronald Bailey, Reason Magazine

Borlaug's work saved the Indian sub-continent from mass starvation. In his 90 years on this planet its human population has grown from about one billion to more than six billion. Without the hybrid wheats it was Borlaug's life's mission to develop and promote among the world's poorest farmers, few believe that this population could have been sustained.

------ Matthew Parris, The Times (UK)

As a result of [Borlaug's] work, a billion people now exist who otherwise would have starved to death, died of starvation-related diseases, or never have been born.

------ Gregory Pence and Joyce Hsu, Birmingham News

Borlaug is one of the great humanitarians of the 20th Century - and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for a lifetime of work feeding a hungry world. The breeds of wheat he developed - with strong disease resistance, high yield potential and the ability to withstand poor growing conditions - led the "Green Revolution" that saved literally hundreds of millions of lives in developing nations that were prone to terrible famines.

------ James Glassman, Tech Central Station
h/t: Neo
Quotes source

Of environmental lobbyists [Borlaug] has stated, “some of the environmental lobbyists of the Western nations are the salt of the earth, but many of them are elitists. They’ve never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in Washington or Brussels. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for fifty years, they’d be crying out for tractors and fertilizer and irrigation canals and be outraged that fashionable elitists back home were trying to deny them these things.”

The opposite of what we are seeing around here.


  1. How true. Do you think anyone from Baykeepers has ever served in the military? The Peace Corps?

  2. Here's the answer for it all from the master himself:

  3. "Do you think anyone from Baykeepers has ever served in the military?"

    Yes,one is a hero if they force their wishes unto others by the barrel of a gun.But,to digress,indeed,I know of a few Baykeepers who have served in the military and the peace corps,HumIBA'er Scott Menzies being one.

  4. Great posting, Rose. His work has been tireless.

    But is he in the same league as some of the more "contemporary" winners like Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan and Al Gore?



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