In the past few years I had started questioning a lot of things; things I believed without a doubt and took the reasoning and explanations as they were presented to me. One such thing is my understanding of Green Revolution. As a biology teacher I have been teaching agriculture, natural resources and conservation as part of the science curriculum. It’s actually quite important to teach kids about these things and I enjoy being able to sensitize young minds about the prevailing conditions we live in and how we can help. But there are a lot of things that are part of all our textbooks that are not quite right; like glorifying Green Revolution and how it was a boon to us.
I believed in it too…but I am not so sure anymore.
Just to clear the table about the topic in discussion, when you think back to the times when green revolution started, it was about the same time World War II ended.
Was that just a mere coincidence?
Maybe not. The powerful policy makers of the world started wondering… now that the war was over, what were they going to do with all the chemicals that were kept for making explosives for the warfare? What would they do with all that material? And they came up with a brilliant idea; use them in agriculture and sell the idea to farmers that when they use this as fertiliser it will tremendously increase their crop production. And thus slowly it was fed into the psyche of people that to improve crop production, they were supposed to use chemical fertilisers and that was the only way developing countries like ours could abolish food scarcity and poverty.
Fast-forward 60 years…
More than 60 years of using fertilisers and still there is no end to poverty or food scarcity in India, rather there is this disturbing fact and figure of 300,000 farmer suicides staring down at us. And to think all this was done in the name of improving agricultural gains.
So wasn’t that supposed to have made the farming community wealthier? On the contrary all we hear about is the increasing number of cases of farmer suicides.
The producer of food, doesn’t have means of survival… how ironic?
So what good did all the green revolution do? Who benefitted by all that? Definitely farmers didn’t. Consumers didn’t.
Food for thought guys…
A decision that was horribly wrong and we are still paying the price for that; by poisoning our soil, our food chains and ecosystems…consuming poisonous food as a part of our daily existence and the dreadful diseases plaguing humanity.
A sad reality which most of us are completely / blissfully kept unaware of…
Sharing a few links to throw light on the subject.
A small excerpt from a book called “Natural Prophets” –
“Throughout 1944 and 1945, government committees were working on plans to transfer the remarkable military production capacity—which by war’s end would produce more than 41 billion rounds of small arms ammunition and 5.8 million tons of aircraft bombs—away from material and over to peacetime production. Agriculture was the primary beneficiary.
For example, the huge munitions plant in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, which was left with a surplus of ammonium nitrate from the production of explosives, was converted in 1947 to a factory for the production of fertilizer. It was, as a DuPont Farm Chemicals brochure of the 1950s boasted, “Man against the soil … [a] rise from savagery to civilization.” Most of these new agricultural chemicals were known to be highly toxic, although the specific risks—such as bio-accumulation in humans, development of birth defects, creation of algal blooms in the oceans, and destruction of the stratospheric ozone layer—would not be discovered for many years. As a result, a culture of acquiescence and blind faith in science permeated much of society.”