On Saturday, Norman Borlaug died aged 95. The man who saved more lives than any other person who ever lived.
The green revolution that Mr Borlaug initiated irradiated the temperamental humanitarian “ship-to-mouth” sustenance for much of humanity. A consummate entrepreneur, his life is proof of the wondrous contribution one individual can have on the course of human history.
Beloved by many in the countries whose lives he saved, the Nobel Peace Prize winner lost favor among many in the West as politics trumped science and the environmental cause turned in on itself. It is beyond a travesty that so many environmentalists have retarded the progress that technology offers for feeding the world. Their lobbying of the Ford Foundation and World Bank to shun Mr Borlaug’s work is a stain upon the environmentalist movement.
Mr Borlaug never gave in to their questionable priorities, and these and other institutions could learn a great deal from his courage and commitment to the evidence. In a rare reply to the armchair environmentalists who criticized his work, he retorted:
They’ve never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for 50 years, they’d be crying out for tractors and fertilizer and irrigation canals, and be outraged that fashionable elitists were trying to deny them these things.
Here’s a selection of obituaries to the great man:
The Times of India ‘Norman Borlaug, India’s ‘annadaata’, dies at 95′.
The Times ‘Norman Borlaug, scientist who ‘saved 245m lives’, dies aged 95′.
The Telegraph:‘Norman Borlaug’.