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Final Green Revolution Paper

Final Green Revolution Paper - Seth Braunstein Professor...

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Seth Braunstein Professor Isbell Anthropology Monday, December 6, 2010 The Green Revolution: Saving the World or Ending It What Is the Green Revolution? There is a basic agreement on the definition of the Green Revolution which is: an increase in food production, especially in underdeveloped and developing nations, through the introduction of high-yield crop varieties and application of modern agricultural techniques (Dictionary, 2010). Its purpose: to end world hunger. It began around 1940- 1950. That’s where the basic agreement ends. Why There Was a Need for the Green Revolution Following the Industrial Revolution, mid 18 th -19 th centuries, horsepower was taken over by machine power, economies grew faster than ever before and industry was starting to be controlled by large and wealthy families and companies. Worldwide population was expanding faster than ever before. In fact, as Simonetta points out, the population was 1.6 billion in 1900. By 1960, the world population had grown to 3 billion. And, at the turn of the century, the population had doubled to 6 billion people with the expectation to reach 9.3 billion by 2050 (Simonetta 2009). By the 1940s, countries all over the world, but especially in undeveloped regions, could not feed, clothe or provide shelter for their people. So during this time, the Green Revolution was born, mainly out of the need to feed hungry people. And it was Norman 1
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Borlaug who is recognized as the scientist who set the Green Revolution in motion by developing disease-resistant varieties of wheat on farms in Mexico (Briney 2010). As Briney explains, for the next two decades, Mexican farmers used Borlaug’s varieties of wheat mixed with established agricultural technologies to produce a larger quantity of wheat than had ever been produced before. By 1960, Mexico’s production of wheat increased so significantly that it went from having to import half of its wheat to becoming the largest exporter of wheat worldwide. As word of Mexico’s farming successes spread across the world, other countries began to copy its farming techniques (Briney 2010). The Green Revolution had taken hold and perhaps, there would be enough food to feed the starving…at least that was the intent. Increasing the Food Supply The Green Revolution’s success to increase the output of food was the result of a number of high-intensity agricultural methods including Borlaug’s new varieties of wheat, use of hybrid seed, manipulating crop genetics, increased use of fertilizers, new irrigation methods, use of pesticides and herbicides and use of powerful tractors (Runge 2009). Crops were growing two-four times faster than they had and stood up better to weather swings. New fertilizers, which were petrochemical-based herbicides, and insecticides were helpful by genetically improving plants, and thus increasing the rate of production (Runge 2009).
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