Norman Borlaug

Norman Borlaug

Norman Ernest Borlaug (25 March 191412 September 2009) was an American agricultural scientist, and humanitarian. He is considered by some to be the "father of modern agriculture" and the father of the green revolution. He won the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize for his life's work.

SourcedEdit

  • "You can't build a peaceful world on empty stomachs and human misery."
    • From "Eat This!", an episode of Penn and Teller's Bullshit!
  • "There can be no permanent progress in the battle against hunger until the agencies that fight for increased food production and those that fight for population control unite in a common effort."
    • 1970 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech
  • "It is a sad fact that on this earth at this late date there are still two worlds, "the privileged world" and "the forgotten world". The privileged world consists of the affluent, developed nations, comprising twenty-five to thirty percent of the world population, in which most of the people live in a luxury never before experienced by man outside the Garden of Eden. The forgotten world is made up primarily of the developing nations, where most of the people, comprising more than fifty percent of the total world population, live in poverty, with hunger as a constant companion and fear of famine a continual menace."
    • From his 1970 Nobel Lecture
  • "I now say that the world has the technology – either available or well advanced in the research pipeline – to feed on a sustainable basis a population of 10 billion people. The more pertinent question today is whether farmers and ranchers will be permitted to use this new technology? While the affluent nations can certainly afford to adopt ultra low-risk positions, and pay more for food produced by the so-called “organic” methods, the one billion chronically undernourished people of the low income, food-deficit nations cannot."
    • 30th Anniversary Lecture, The Norwegian Nobel Institute, Oslo, September 8, 2000
  • "Producing food for 6.2 billion people, adding a population of 80 million more a year, is not simple. We better develop an ever improved science and technology, including the new biotechnology, to produce the food that's needed for the world today." In response to the fraction of the world population that could be fed if current farmland was converted to organic-only crops: "We are 6.6 billion people now. We can only feed 4 billion. I don't see 2 billion volunteers to disappear." In response to extreme critics: "These are utopian people that live on Cloud 9 and come into the third world and cause all kinds of confusion and negative impacts on the developing countries."
    • Transcript of all comments from "Eat This!", an episode of Penn and Teller's Bullshit!
  • "Reach for the stars. Although you will never touch them, if you reach hard enough, you will find that you get a little star dust on you in the process."
    • Reported by Ed Runge, retired head of Texas A&M's department of soil and crop sciences, who persuaded Borlaug to teach at the school.
  • "Some of the environmental lobbyists of the western nations are the salt of the earth, but many of them are elitists. They have 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 would 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."
    • Reported by Gregg Easterbrook in a January 1997 interview for The Atlantic Monthly.

Quotes about Norman BorlaugEdit

  • "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 Africa - 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! BUH! That's Carl Sagan BILLION with a "B"! And most of them were a different race from him. Norman is the greatest human being- and you've probably never heard of him."
  • "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."
  • "Norman Borlaug is the living embodiment of the human quest for a hunger free world. His life is his message."
  • "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."
  • "It is very likely that Dr. Borlaug is directly responsible for saving more lives than anyone else in the twentieth century... Dr. Borlaug has never stopped fighting, teaching, inventing, or caring... The world owes Dr. Borlaug endless amounts of gratitude"
    • Senator 'Kit' Bond|, Missouri, in a congressional record in honour of Borlaug's 90th birthday.
  • "Dr. Norman Borlaug was the father of the Green Revolution that transformed much of the hungry Third World. As U.S. Food for Peace Administrator in the 1960s, I shipped 4 million tons of food aid per year to India; now it can export food. Dr. Borlaug’s scientific leadership not only saved people from starvation, but the high-yield seeds he bred saved millions of square miles of wildlife from being plowed down. He is one of the great men of our age."
  • "For fifty-two years, Dr. Norman Borlaug has been helping to provide more food to the most needy areas of the world. But perhaps of greater importance, this distinguished scientist-philosopher has been demonstrating practical ways to give people of the entire world a higher quality of life ... The passion that drives Dr. Borlaug's life is an inspiration for all of us to follow. Since 1986, we've worked together through Global 2000 of The Carter Center and the Sasakawa Africa Association to help small-scale farmers to improve agricultural productivity and crop quality, sometimes two or even threefold. It has been an honor to collaborate with Dr. Borlaug. He is a true humanitarian and a dear friend."
    • Jimmy Carter, 39th president of the United States and 2002 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
  • "It gives me great pleasure to add my voice to all those paying tribute to Dr. Norman E. Borlaug on his 90th birthday. As we celebrate Dr. Borlaug's long and remarkable life, we also celebrate the long and productive lives that his achievements have made possible for so many millions of people around the world. And as the United Nations continues its efforts to reach the ambitious but achievable Millennium Development Goal of reducing, by half, by the year 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger, we will continue to be inspired by his enduring devotion to the poor, needy and vulnerable of our world. Dr. Borlaug, for your many contributions to the work of the United Nations, please accept my best wishes on this happy occasion."
    • Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations
  • "Dr. Norman Borlaug holds the record for longevity as a "persistent pioneer" in the development of a new cooperative approach among the countries of the world in the alleviation of hunger."
    • Dr. Edwin J. Wellhausen, First Director General of CIMMYT, Mexico, 1996
  • "Dr. Norman Borlaug is the first person in history to save a billion human lives. But he must also get credit for saving the wild creatures and diverse plant species on 12 million square miles of global forest that would long since have been plowed down without the high-yield farming he pioneered. The two accomplishments combined make him dramatically unique. I am proud to work with the Center for Global Food Issues, of which he is Chairman Emeritus."
    • Senator Rudy Boschwitz, R-MN, former member of the US Senate Agriculture Committee
  • "'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
  • "Thanks to the Green Revolution, the real price of food is half or less than it was in 1960 which means those who spend the highest portion of their income on food - the urban and non-farm rural poor -- garner the most benefit from it."
    • Thomas R. DeGregori, University of Houston
  • "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
  • "He is credited with starting the Green Revolution in the mid-1960s and saving millions of lives from starvation. Since 1984, he has been a professor of international agriculture at Texas A&M, where he teaches one semester every year. But he is by no means semi-retired. At 86, he remains as active as ever - carrying his brand of prairie pragmatism to fight hunger around the world and in the classroom. Think big. Fight complacency. That is the essence of his message, whether he's talking to heads of state or college freshmen."
    • David Tarrant, Dallas Morning News
  • "Scientist. Teacher. Humanitarian. Nobel Laureate. Father of the Green Revolution. Those terms describe Dr. Norman Borlaug, who is distinguished professor of international agriculture at Texas A&M University, but they can't possibly capture the magnitude of his accomplishments."
    • Ellen Ritter, Texas A&M University
  • "If there's one thread running through Borlaug's life it's doing -- acting with fierce determination. Working on a problem as fundamental as world hunger is a complicated business, and Borlaug is a complicated man, somehow balancing contradictions ... He is the scientist and the dirt farmer; the advocate of common sense and the master of political subtleties; the humanitarian and the pugnacious fighter; the idealist and the consultant to governments of every political ideology. He has been called a peaceful revolutionary, and the tension in that term - between benevolence and aggressiveness - seems particularly apt."
    • From the University of Minnesota College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Science

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Last modified on 9 July 2013, at 16:24