Latest posts by Carl Cook (see all)
- The Impact Of The Green Revolution On The World As We Know It - August 1, 2017
Each and every year there are hundreds of millions of acres of farmland that are carefully planted. Agriculture has a rich history and culture of its own. Farming practices and the necessity of growing food to feed our world has made farming inherently revered as extremely important as it shapes the way entire communities shape their lives. Throughout history, communities who have excelled in farming have experienced abundance, life, and prosperity.
The Green Revolution was, and is at its root, a farming practice that involves the latest technology and research in an attempt to create superior farming techniques. Modern Science as it is called has come to the conclusion that Science can overcome nearly any obstacle and make anything better – and be starting in the 1940’s and 50’s, Science set out to do just that.
Powerful corporations created something known as HYV’s or “High Yield Variants”. These HYV’s were genetically modified plants that had the ability to withstand extreme amounts of external inputs. These inputs would be chemical fertilizers, water, pesticides, and even herbicides.
The concept was that the more inputs you can give a plant – the more it will yield. While the results seemed logical and promising at first, the negative effects have begun to grow even more rapidly than the benefits.
The issues that have arisen are that the soil essentially becomes ruined by these HYV plants. They essentially turn the soil to a barren, brown mud with no nutrients being naturally replenished to the soil. The previous farming practices that had been in place were an accumulation of thousands of years of practice and knowledge and a lack of “Modern Science” which produces these new external inputs like fertilizers and pesticides.
This means that the farming practices of old were self-sustaining – requiring no external inputs. Replenishing the soil with natural methods of composting and crop rotation. When these modern farming practices reached the rural poor in many third world countries, it decimated their livelihood within a span of a decade. The poor did not have the money to shell out for these chemicals and pesticides to make their plants grow. It essentially broke down thousands of years of farming knowledge and dissolved it in just a few decades – all for the empty promise of increasing yields and therefore profits.
So now we are using our modern science to learn even more about the effects of this trend commonly referred to as “The Green Revolution”. We see examples of its effect in so many regions of the world, Africa, India, Asia, and more. Slowly but surely, even though western farmers have the money to shell out to pay for these increased yields, further discoveries are showing the negative effects of these science experiments that are being called crops. Cancer is being linked to the increased levels of chemicals that humans consume on a regular basis. The soil is being further and further deteriorated each year, causing increases in the amount of overhead that goes into running a farm because of the increase in the need for these external inputs. More chemicals, more disease, less health, less sustainability.
The world has truly been left in the aftermath of a barren revolution. A revolution that is now so deeply rooted into how we understand farming. Who is left trying to figure out how to stop it, how to reverse it, and how to fix it? Only those who have become aware of its effects. Like many problems though, moving forward, we as a human race come to recognize that our focus on profit at any means necessary has consequences when our sight is so limited – and it takes so much longer to clean up than it does to do it right the first time.