The Second Green Revolution

 

Let us trace back the growth of the global population to some key events over the quarter of a millennium.

 

 

 

In the 1760s and 1770s, we saw the spread of the Industrial Revolution. It was initiated in England, but soon spread to continental Europe. The Industrial Revolution led to the rapid development of the secondary sector, as it increased output in factories due to applications of machinery. It resulted in greater number of jobs for the working population of Europeans, who were more than happy to take up the well-paying industrial jobs. As a result, Europe prospered economically in the 18th and 19th century. The Industrial Revolution also was initiated in the United States by the turn of the 19th century. By the mid-19th century, European countries had begun to set up industrial manufacturing plants in colonies, primarily Asia and South America. As a result, the world saw a period of global economic growth and general prosperity. With more money in households being able to support a larger family, we see an increase in rate of growth of population in the 19th century.

 

 

 

The end of the 19th century brought about a revolutionary invention in the form of the steam surgical tool sterilizer, by Robert Koch. This meant that surgical tools could now be easily sterilized in hospitals, and hence it greatly reduced deaths induced due to infections caused by contaminated surgical tools. By the 1910s, hospitals worldwide had begun to adopt sterilization as an important safety measure. It resulted in larger number of successful surgeries, increasing chances of survival in the event of physical trauma caused to a person. This also contributed to the increase in the rate of growth of population.

 

 

 

In 1928, the world witnessed another massive discovery, this time by Alexander Fleming. He accidentally discovered the anti-biotic effects of Penicillin while researching on Staphylococci bacteria. This discovery would prove to be crucial to the later invention of anti-biotic drugs to combat bacterial and fungal diseases. Governments around the world were eager to push for the development of anti-biotic drugs, in order to increase the efficiency of their workforce, which was being impacted by workers having to take leave from work due to illnesses. And sure enough, by 1944, Penicillin began to be mass produced by Merck & Company and Pfizer.

 

Around the same time, the Second World War was also coming to an end. Countries involved in the war were under immense pressure to rebuild and recuperate their resources. As a result, there was once again an increase in demand for labor, especially in the secondary sector.  By the early 1950s, the world economy had recovered from the effects of the war, and strong economic growth was seen in North America, Europe and Asia and the growth of the tertiary sector had begun. Combined with the global spread of anti-biotics and advancements in the field of healthcare, the population shot up, causing a phenomenon termed as the “Population Explosion”. Between 1900 and 1960, the world population had doubled as a result of the aforementioned factors.

 

This was a drastic change to our global economic and ecological scenario. A century back, no one would have predicted such a change to our population. While the global economy struggled to keep pace with the growing needs of a large population, agriculturalists took aim at the elephant in the room: the food crisis.

 

 

 

Put simply, the amount of food required increases with increase in population. In a span of 60 years, there had been a drastic change in the population, but we were still using conventional methods of food production. To counter the problem at hand, a team led by Norman Borlaug started working on analyzing inefficiencies in conventional agriculture and plugging the holes in the system with advancements in science. Under his leadership, there were revolutionizing changes introduced in food production. The introduction of high yielding variety seeds, hybrid seeds and widespread usage of pesticides and fertilizers were just a few of the introduced changes. This modernization of agriculture to meet the fast growing population and their increasing food resource requirements is referred to as the Green Revolution.

 

 

 

However, I like to believe that a lot of changes that were initiated as a part of the Green Revolution were short sighted. They failed to account for the ecological imbalances that would be introduced as a direct result of these changes. High Yielding Varieties of crops, for example, required far more water than their naturally occurring relatives, affecting water supply and the water cycle. Pesticides, besides killing unwanted pests, also killed off useful organisms like ladybugs and earthworms, which were integral to replenishing natural fertility of the soil. Fertilizers were non bio-degradable and un-absorbed fertilizer ended up seeping into ground water, while surface run off resulted in collection in water bodies, affecting aquatic life and hence causing further ecological repercussions.

 

 

 

As a result of these farming practices being used around the world, we have seen repercussions in both ecology and our biological systems. Consumption of inorganic produce affects our bodily functions. This is because when plants are sprayed with pesticides, the pesticides are diffused into the stems and fruits of plants, while pesticides may still be present on the surface of fruits and the vegetables. We end up consuming this produce and it affects the biological balance of the system.

 

 

 

To counter all these changes brought about, I feel that we need to bring about a Second Green Revolution. This change needs to be initiated by the urban populous. We need to propagate the practice of organic farming in urban India, and reduce production and consumption of inorganically grown produce. Every household should have an organic garden, be it a large patch of land behind their house, or just 2 pots in the balcony of their apartment. Every inorganic fruit or vegetable that gets replaced by an organic alternative works towards the battle against ecological destruction caused due to our current farming methods.

 

The Urban Green Revolution also isn’t very difficult to initiate. There is a common misconception among people that growing plants is a tedious and difficult procedure. In reality, however, growing fruits and vegetables requires very little care from the caregiver. A small garden requires no more 12-15 minutes in a day. The effort needed to be put in is relatively little in comparison to the rewards we get.

 

Future innovations in the field of agriculture must be initiated keeping in mind the sustainability of the innovation, to prevent the damage that is being caused due to earlier agricultural innovations.

 

They say with time comes wisdom. So, it’s time to learn from our past mistakes and work together to make the world a better place to live in.


Arya Pudota

 

 

Global Warming - Beat the Heat!

It is no secret that temperatures around the earth are on an increase, thanks to the phenomenon known as global warming. Global warming has taken place because of large amount of carbon compounds in the air which trap heat within the atmosphere. Due to the rise in number of vehicles on the roads, increase in number of factories and a general increase in quality of life, carbon emissions have increased greatly. Almost 79% of carbon emissions consist of C02. The average Indian contributes 1.67 tons of Carbon Dioxide to the Earth’s atmosphere. All these factors have led to an increase in global temperature by 1.2 *C since 1910. The increase is even greater in tropical areas with hotter climates. 

What must be done about this? One method of controlling emissions is to introduce rules on regulations. However, these regulations take a long time to formulate and introduce and are often met with backlash from citizens. So what would be a better solution? We citizens can make a change. A study conducted by Indian Institute of Science has found that a mature rain tree removes 28.5 tons of CO2 in the atmosphere and converts it to oxygen. an average automobile on the road produce around 200 g of CO2/km. Taking an annual running of 10,000 km. for the automobile, we can assume that an automobile releases around 2 tonnes of C02 annually. One rain tree will offset the emissions of 14 cars in this manner!

Planting trees, then, is a great solution to the current issue and a long term solution too. Other than reducing C02 levels which in turn cause a reduction in temperature, trees provide much needed shade from the sun and also provide natural habitat for the animals and birds living there. Trees also help in increasing the amount of rain in an area, a boon in cities with water shortage. Planting trees, therefore, is a solution to various issues that plague modern cities in India.

On 8th May, 2016, My Organic Farm hosted an event at Kasu Brahmananda Reddy National Park in Hyderabad. The volunteers Ananya, Arka, Arya, Ayra, Ishaan, Jiya, Pranav, Siri, Surya, Tejas and Yashas from CHIREC International, Hyderabad, National Public School, Indiranagar, Bangalore and Sancta Maria International, Hyderabad, all aged between 5 and 15, donated more than 500 plants and trees to the morning walkers at the park. The plants given out included Gulmohar, Temple Tree, Table Rose, Lemon, Guava, Neem, Multi-Vitamin and many others. These plants were sponsored by the Telangana government’s Forest Department.

The objective of this initiative was to spread awareness among people about the importance of trees in keeping global warming in check, to give insight to people as to how easy it is to grow plants at home and to persuade people to spread information among their colonies and communities about the importance of trees. The response to the event by participants was superb. Participants were enthusiastic about adopting the plants and getting to know about the effects of global warming. The students also hope that more such events are carried out by students to spread awareness among the people.

-Arya Pudota


Organic Farming- My views


Organic farming, according to me, is a wise choice to grow vegetables in a safe and healthy method. Organic farming is beneficial for our health and is a budget friendly choice for farming.
Unlike the conventional type of farming that uses pesticides and other harmful chemicals that eliminate the pests insects as well the salubrious nutrients, organic farming is contradictory. Organic farming does not use pesticides to ruin the plants and it retains the vital nutrients needed for our survival.


I have seen the videos shot by Arya showing various vegetables grown in  organic method.  Arya has set a good example amidst the increasing pressure to buy  genetically modified(GM food) sold in the market. I congratulate him on his success of the initiative taken by him to promote organic farming by distributing 1000 tomato saplings to the denizens of Bangalore to commemorate the World Environment Day on June 5th. 


(Sudiksha, Class 7, Oakridge International School, Hyderabad)

 

Your fruit bowl is loaded with toxins

Read article in The Times of India 10-June-2015 - click here.

Read article on this site - click here.


 
Even the veggies you eat may be unsafe

Read article in The Times of India 09-June-2015 - click here.

Read article on this site - click here.



Why Organic Farming

It is becoming increasingly clear, how foods are grown can impact both human health and the environment. In addition to eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and foods with good fat source, there is the question of food safety, nutrition, and sustainability. Organic crops must be grown in safe soil, with no modifications, and must remain separate from conventional products. Farmers should not be allowed to use synthetic pesticides, bioengineered genes (GMOs), petroleum-based fertilizers, and sewage sludge-based fertilizers. Organic livestock must have access to the outdoors and be given organic feed. The livestock should not be treated with antibiotics, growth hormones, or any animal-by-products. Various studies have shown that organic foods contain more beneficial antioxidants, than their conventionally grown produce. People with allergies to foods, chemicals, or preservatives often find their symptoms disappear when they eat only organic foods.


Organic farming practices reduce pollution to air, water, soil, and helps to conserve water, reduces soil erosion, and increases soil fertility. Farming without pesticides is also better for nearby birds and small animals as well as people who live close to or work on farms. By eating organic food, we are exposed to fewer/ no pesticides and more nutrients. The nitrogen present in composted soil is released slowly with organic farming methods and plants grow at a normal rate, with their nutrients in balance.

Rama S. Kota, Ph.D , Research Scientist, Genexgenetics.com 


 

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