The irrepressible Al Gore, former vice president, presidential candidate, and environmentalist scold, has embarked on yet another campaign to save the environment, according to Politico. We must eat less meat, Gore urges.
The idea that industrial agriculture has caused degradation to the environment is not new. The fact that modern agriculture has fed billions of people who hitherto would have starved to death is not something that enters into the conversation. Gore would like everyone to convert to organic farming, which he views as more environmentally friendly.
Without irony, he compares people who resist his prescriptions for saving the Earth to racists who resisted the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s. It is an inapt comparison, considering who would be affected by the sort of agriculture Gore would impose.
Gore seems to be upset at a development that took place between the 1940s and 1970s called the Green Revolution, pioneered by Norman Borlaug, that boosted crop yields with extensive use of fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation. In living memory countries like India were ravaged by famines due to crop failures. During the 1960s, the United States was obliged to send a huge fleet of grain ships to India to stave off mass starvation.
The Green Revolution changed all of that. While India still has a rural, impoverished underclass, the use of modern farming technology has staved off starvation in that country. India is now a food surplus country. Literally billions around the world who would have died from starvation now survive.
Gore, like a lot of elitist environmentalists, have a kind of religious regard for organic farming as being more “natural” or environmentally benign. People like Gore also opposed genetically modified food crops, even though they further boost crop yields, while actually mitigating against environmental impact of agriculture.
The inconvenient truth, to use a phrase first coined by Gore, is that switching over the organic farming would doom billions of third world people to death by starvation. The world is just too populous to feed using more “natural” methods. Considering Gore’s cheeky use of the civil rights analogy, he might wish to reflect on the ethnic background of the people he would see killed in order to satisfy his political agenda.
Source: Gore: Eat less meat to fight warming, Robin Bravender, Politico, August 26, 2011
Norman Borlaug: The Greatest Man You Never Heard Of, Mark R. Whittington, Associated Content, July 23, 2007