Chapter9: Food

Chapter 9: Food and Hunger
9.1 World Food And Nutrition
• Millions of people are chronically hungry
• Famines usually have political and social
– Almost Never Due to Physical Lack of Food
• Overeating is a growing world problem
• We need the right kinds of food
• Vitamins can prevent illness
9.2 Key Food Sources
• A few major crops supply most of our food
– Genetic Diversity is at Risk
• A boom in meat production brings costs and
• Seafood is a key protein source
– Many Fisheries Near Collapse
• Increased production comes with increased
9.3 Food Production Policies
• Food production can be sustainable (Duh)
– Otherwise We’d Be Extinct
• Policies can protect the land
– Short Term Profit vs. Long Term Benefit
– Cash Crops vs. Subsistence Agriculture
• Farmers Get Cash, But
• Have To Buy Their Own Food, Supplies
9.4 The Green Revolution And Genetic
• The “green revolution” produced dramatic
increases in crop yields
• Widely Credited with Averting Global Famines
that Were Predicted in 1960’s
• Norman Borlaug, 1970 Nobel Peace Prize
Norman Borlaug Quote
"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."
Comment on Borlaug
• "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
• Senator Rudy Boschwitz, R-MN, former member
of the US Senate Agriculture Committee
9.4 The Green Revolution And Genetic
• The “green revolution” produced dramatic
increases in crop yields
• Genetic engineering uses molecular
techniques to produce new crop varieties
• Most GMOs have been engineered for pest
resistance or weed control
• Is genetic engineering safe?
The Green Revolution After 40 Years
• Continues to Keep Large Parts of the World
Self Sufficient in Food
• Many of our Crops are Monocultures
– Gene Banks Seek to Preserve Diversity
– Heirloom Plant Varieties – Small Scale but Useful
• How Long Can We Keep It Up?
The Lesson of Bananas
• Thousands of Varieties of Bananas
• Seedless Bananas are Asexual Clones
• Bananas Largely Wiped out by “Panama
Disease” in 1920’s
– “Banana Republics”
• Resistant Strain, “Cavendish,” Developed
• New Strain of Fungus is Attacking the

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