Green Revolution and GMOs

Casey Suttles 3rd Period Furnish

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What were the causes and results of the Bengal Famine in 1943?

The Bengal Famine of 1943 is one of the worst recorded food disasters. It caused an estimate 2-4 million deaths. The famine stemmed from many causes, and although it was first thought to be a mere short shortage (6% of the normal supply!), it goes much deeper. In 1942 the outbreak of Brown Spot, a disease that first appears as brownish spots on the leaves of plants (in this case it was rice), killed approximately 2 million people. The fungus caused seedlings to become weak and drastically reduced crop yields. Brown spot is just one of the contributors to the famine, however. Hysteria related to world war 2 caused British rulers to remove much of their focus on food supply. Indian traders would hoard food to sell it for inflated costs. All of this led to the Green Revolution, aimed to maximize crop yields using high yield value (HYV) seeds and double cropping.
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Three basic elements of the Green Revolution in India

Continued expansion of farming areas:


  • Farming land was being increased across the country but not enough to reach the growing demands, leading to the necessity of other methods.


Double-cropping existing farmland:


  • India only has one natural monsoon a year, so second artificial monsoon is created by the means of huge irrigation systems to enable a second crop season. Dams were built to reserve natural monsoon water which would've bee previously wasted.


Using seeds with superior genetics:


  • High Yield Value (HYV) seeds were developed the by the Indian Council for Agricultural Research. Genetically modified wheat, rice, millet and corn increased the output of crops.
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Two positive results of the Green Revolution in India

  • During the Green Revolution India was established as one of the world's largest producers in agriculture.
  • The water stored in dams created hydroelectric power, improving India's power sustainability.
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Three positive economic, sociological, and political results of the Green Revolution in India


  • The increased demand for labor in the manufacturing and agricultural industries created new jobs and benefited the countries economy.
  • India progressed from a nation where people struggled with producing enough food to a major exporter of agricultural items.
  • All of the loans India had taken from the World Bank were able to be paid off
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Two limitations of the Green Revolution in India

  • The Green Revolution didn't succeed in making India completely self-sufficient in food production permanently
  • HYV seeds have not been extended to all crops/regions in India
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Human health risks and environmental impact

The overproduction of crops leaches many nutrients form the soil, leading to lower quality nutrition. The use of pesticides and fertilizers contaminates the soil and water around the farmland, which is harmful to the environment and human population. The massive amounts of water used to irrigate the crops can be detrimental to drier areas.
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GMOs - the good and the bad

Positives:

  • reduce the needs of pesticides and herbicides
  • can manipulate foods to have certain nutrients
  • helps increase production of crops
  • more resistant to disease
  • can be manipulated to withstand more extreme environmental conditions.


Negatives:

  • consumption of GMOs increases the chances of developing of food allergies
  • when pollen is spread of GMOs to other plants it can create "superweeds" that are resistant to pesticides.
  • very little testing has been done on genetically modified foods and most of information about them has not been made public.
  • plants beginning to produce own insecticides, leading to resistant insects and humans consumption of the insecticide.
  • pesticides (like the plant made insecticide previously mentioned) have been linked to causing cancer, neurological diseases, and other health concerns.


Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) - Myths and Truths

Bibliography

"Green Revolution in India." Green Revolution in India. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2015.


Headey, Derek D., and John F. Hoddinott. "Agriculture, Nutrition, and the Green Revolution in Bangladesh." International Food Policy Research Institute. N.p., 2015. Web. 19 Apr. 2015.


"Bengal Famine of 1943." Global Security. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2015.


"The Good, Bad and Ugly about GMOs - Natural Revolution." Natural Revolution. N.p., 23 Oct. 2014. Web. 19 Apr. 2015.


Connealy, Leigh E., M.D. "GMOs: The Pros & Cons of Genetically Modified Food - Newport Natural Health." Newport Natural Health. N.p., 9 July 2013. Web. 19 Apr. 2015.


"Pros and Cons of Genetically Modified Foods - HRF." HRF. N.p., 04 Dec. 2013. Web. 19 Apr. 2015.


"Negative Impacts on GM Foods:." GMO. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2015.

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