A Feb. 23 Associated Press story suggests that
the world can indeed dramatically increase crop yields, but that it can
do so in environmentally ways (the sound you here is Lester Brown and
Paul Ehrlich screaming “Impossible!”)
The AP story profiles ecologist Gordon Conway
who was recently appointed to take over as president of the Rockefeller
Foundation beginning in April. Conway has just published a book, “The
Doubly Green Revolution,” that outlines his views on how crop yields
can be expanded without undue harm to the environment.
The solution, of course, is relying on ever
more sophisticated technology. Conway, who was one of the original proponents
of integrated pest management, argues various technologies can be combined
to increase crop yields in even the poorest areas.
“Its about producing the same amount
of food as we did in the last Green Revolution, doing it not only in the
best lands but in the marginal lands, doing it so the poor gain access,
and doing it so that its environmentally sustainable,” Conway
told the AP.
Conway notes that using genetic engineering
and biotechnology, humans will be able to design plants to grow in areas
with low rainfall or high salt content in the soil. This could lead, Conway
claims, to a revolution in soil and water conservation as plant species
become tailored to their particular environment rather than vice versa.
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