Question: "There are critics of the Green Revolution that say we should not be using this much fertilizer. We should not be using this much pesticide. All of these chemicals are bad."
"The evidence doesn't show that this is true. First of all, let me talk about the fertilizer. The world is using, just in nitrogen alone (without the phosphorous, potash, and minor elements, sulfur which you need on some soils) about 87 million metric tons of nitrogen. It's impossible to produce the food for 6.4 billion people without chemical nitrogen. If you tried to do it with cow manure, cattle manure the dry manure has about two percent of nutrient nitrogen. So 87 million times 50 will give you something (the rough figure, I don't remember exactly) but 4½ billion tons of animal manure. We have difficulty moving 200 kilos of chemical fertilizer. The volume! How are you going to move it? But even worse, to produce that amount of manure We have about 1½ billion head of cattle in the world. We would probably have to have between six and seven billion cattle. What would we do? Chop down how many forests that are left to produce the grass and hay for the cattle. A lot of nonsense!
"High yield agriculture is not the enemy of the wildlife, or of our own health. Talk about our own health. Life expectancy at birth in 1900 was 46 years on average for a boy baby, 48 for a girl baby. In the year 2000, a hundred years later, it was 75 years, not 46, for a boy baby and 80 for a girl baby. Are we being poisoned out of existence?
"And if you look at worldwide cereal production, in 1950 this is all countries, all cereal grain production was about 650 million tons of grain. By the year 2000, it was 1,900,000,000 [1.9 billion tons] essentially three times as much. The area cultivated in the year 2000 was .66 billion hectares 660 million, if you want to put it that way. Had you tried to produce the harvest of the year 2000 with the technology of 1930, you would have had to cultivate an additional 1.1 billion hectares more of land of the same quality as those 660 million we cultivated to produce the harvest of the year 2000. Probably much more than that because much of that land would have been of lower quality. So, what choice do we have?
"Biotechnology is a bad word for many people now because we can make crosses that we couldn't make before. So, we're messing in to something we aren't supposed to be involved in. But as long as the population monster is pushing on us, what choices do we have? Let the world collapse?
"I want to cut down on human misery."