Today: 20.Feb.2018

John Tjostem, microbiology, botany, professor emeritus of biology - Norman Borlaug’s gift to world’s malnourished was short straw, rust resistant, rapid maturity, high milling quality, wheat that thrives in a wide range of climate conditions and produces fantastic yields. He is a giant among giants. Norman Borlaug is one of just seven people to have won the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Congressional Gold Medal. The others are Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., Elie Wiesel, Muhammad Yunus, and Aung San Suu Kyi. Dr. Borlaug also holds our nations highest award in science. A life size bronze casting of Norman Borlaug stands in our Nation’s Capitol.

John Tjostem, microbiology, botany, professor emeritus of biology - Will our children and grandchildren inherit a world that has adequate food and clean energy resources to offer quality of life? If yes, we must grapple with three thorny issues which threaten to reduce quality of life in the future: 1) Finding abundant clean energy to replace dwindling fossil fuels; 2) Bringing our world’s population down to a long term sustainable level; 3) Slowing climate change.

The 20th century is remarkable for bloodshed and lives lost through the madness of men. Stalin and Mao created environmental ruin and starved around 40 million. Exploding populations post-World War II caused Paul Ehrlich to write in his book Population Bomb, “The battle to feed all of humanity is over.” Ehrlich warned that only government action to force curbs on population would prevent massive destruction of the environment, and hundreds of millions dead. Unlike Ehrlich, Norman Borlaug did something positive for the world. He developed genetically modified high-yield rice and corn, which ignited the “Green Revolution.” This lead to development of hybrid grains capable of handling varying climates and prevailing diseases and increased crop yields over 700 percent.

Published in People - The Americas

Norman Borlaug, Henry Miller, Noel Vietmeyer - Noel Vietmeyer’s excellent, meticulously researched biography of Norman Borlaug, the plant breeder known as the Father of the Green Revolution, Our Daily Bread, portrays sympathetically one of the great figures of the 20th Century. Borlaug observed that the enemies of innovation might create a self-fulfilling prophecy: “If the naysayers do manage to stop agricultural biotechnology, they might actually precipitate the famines and the crisis of global biodiversity they have been predicting for nearly 40 years.

Published in People - The Americas