Green Revolution and GMOs

Anna Connolly

Bengal Famine of 1943

Followi WWII, England neglected to supply food for their colony of India. Furthermore, Indian traders capitalized on the food shortage by hoarding food and reselling it at a price higher than its value. As a result, the Bengal Famine started in 1942 and lasted for four years, causing the death of four million people. To prevent this catastrophe from reoccurring, the Indian government created laws that penalized hoarding food for profit. The Bengal Famine also led to the Green Revolution.

Green Revolution in India

There are three basic elements of the Green Revolution in India: continued expansion of farming areas, double cropping existing farmland, and using seeds with improved genetics.


Two positive results of the Green Revolution are a record grain output of 131 million tons of two years, which established India as one of the world's biggest agricultural producers, and yield per unit faemland improved by more then 30%.


As a result of the Green Revolution, India was able to pay back its loans it had taken from the World Bank, improving their creditworthiness and creating a more stable economy. The Green Revolution created jobs for agricultural and industrial workers by creating factories and hydro-electric power stations. Also, India transformed itself from a starving nation to an exporter of food. This earned admiration for India in the comity of nations, especially in the Third World.


The Green Revolution in India has limitations. One of which is that India's agricultural output sometimes falls short of demand. Another limitation is that India has failed to extend the concept of high yield value seeds to all crops or all regions.

Human Health Risks and Environmental Impact

The Green Revolution impacts many aspects of human health and the environment. In the Green Revolution, a large amount of water was being used on plants, leading to an insufficient amount of water for humans. The Green Revolution introduced GMO's (genetically modified organisms), pesticides, and stimulants; causing a lack of genetic variation. Furthermore, the inorganic chemicals in these substances may not be harmful to the plant, but they are harmful to the organisms that eat them such as humans and livestock. Antibiotics are frequently used in the process of genetically modifying crops. Use of these antibiotics creates an antibiotics resistance to the medicines we use, rendering them ineffective.

Pros and Cons of GMO's

Pros

  • theoretically better for the environment because it uses less water and soil
  • genetic manipulation allows for ability to add nutrients
  • faster growth of crop leads to faster output of the product
  • cheaper to produce per pound
  • "tastes better"
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Cons

  • cramped conditions of livestock are considered inhumane
  • increased resistance to antibiotics makes it more difficult to treat disease
  • decrease in genetic variation throughout the population
  • creates an imbalance in the puberty and reproductive hormones
  • GMO's are increasingly toxic
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