Green Revolution and GMOs

By: Maddie Spencer

Causes & Results of the 1943 Bengal Famine

The initial theory that was believed to have caused the Bengal Famine was that there was an acute shortfall in food production, and while it was an extreme contributor to the problem, there were even bigger issues. World War II had caused a panic which made food supply a low priority for the British. The problem was further exploited when Indian traders hoarded food in order to sell it at higher prices. The results of the Bengal Famine was the estimated four million people that died and the beginning of the Green Revolution
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The Green Revolution

There were three main parts of the Green Revolution:

1. Continued expansion of farming areas- Although the area of land under cultivation was being increased already, it wasn't enough to meet the needs of the food that was required for the amount of people that needed to be fed.

2. Double-cropping existing farmland- Instead of having only one crop season per year, a decision was made to have two crop seasons per year. The reason they only have one, is because of the one monsoon a year. This required another artificial monsoon to be created using large irrigation facilities and dams with the wasted natural monsoon water.

3. Using seeds with improved genetics- The Indian Council for Agricultural Research developed new strains of high yield value seeds such as wheat, rice, millet, and corn.

Positive Results of the Green Revolution

One extremely positive result of the Green Revolution is that the increase in irrigation created the need for new dams to contain the monsoon water. This water stored was used to create hydroelectric power which kickstarted industrial growth, created jobs, and improved quality of village life. A positive political result was how India changed itself into a major exporter of food out of a starving nation. People then gained respect for the nation and the Indian National Congress. Overall, the Green Revolution created many jobs for industry and agricultural workers with the creation of hydro-eletric power stations and factories.
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Limitations of the Green Revolution

Although there were many good outcomes of the Green Revolution, there were limitations. India suffered a major drought conditions in 1979 and 1987 due to poor monsoon, which made people question if this really was a long term plan. Though nothing like the Bengal Famine can happen again, there are still reported deaths from starvation.
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Positives of GMOs

Positives:

- Genetically modified crops taste better, stay in season longer, have increased nutrients, and can be produced in larger numbers.

- GM animals have a higher resistance to disease and overall better health.

- GM organisms are said to be more environmentally friendly because they conserve water, soil, and energy.

- Animals that are genetically modified eat less, so less money is spent on them.

- Genetically modifying some foods that feed a lot of people can help eliminate certain deficiencies, for example, rice feeds 50% of the worlds population, so genetically modifying rice to have more vitamin a could help countries that depend on rice get enough nutrients.

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Negatives of GMOs

- Most GM crops are sprayed with a large amount of herbicides. This causes the GM crops to become resistant to the weed killers which results in farmers usung even more of the toxic chemicals.

- When GMOs were introduced in 1996, the percentage of Americans with more than one chronic illness jumped from 7% to 13%. Milk with GMOs has the hormone IGF-1 which is linked to cancer.

- Studies on GM animals showed that they had organ damage, gastrointestinal and immune system damage, accelerated aging, and infertility.

- GMOs allow human immune systems to become more resistant to antibiotics when they consume the animal. Some of the chemicals used to genetically modify animals are also used in antibiotics, so when consumed regularly, a person can grow resiliant to the anitibiotic.

- Inspections of GMOs are done by the producers, which means we cannot be sure if the products really are safe to consume.