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Norman Borlaug, 1914-2009, the Greatest Human Being That Ever Lived

 

With all these recent celebrity deaths, it's pretty lame of us media types that we haven't given more press/public attention to a real hero that has passed away. While Patrick Swayze may have made a lot of great films and seemed like a nice guy, and Michael Jackson was the King of Pop and an amazing entertainer, Norman Borlaug was a true hero that saved hundreds of millions of people's lives. Borlaug, dubbed the "Greatest Human Being That Ever Lived" by Penn and Teller, died of lymphoma at the age of 95 in his Dallas home on Saturday, September 12.

A Nobel Peace Prize winner, Borlaug was also the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal and has been called the father of the Green Revolution. He has also been credited with saving more lives than ANYONE that has ever lived. Why? Because he helped to develop a high-yielding, short-straw wheat variety that was more resilient than any other wheat out there. This meant that millions of people in Mexico, India and Pakistan were saved from eminent starvation with the development of this new wheat. Crops were established and hundreds of millions of people projected to be starving to death by the 1980s were saved. Since its creation, the dwarf wheat he helped create has been planted in crops in six Latin American countries, six in the Near and Middle East, and several countries in Africa and helped save millions more from famine.

"There are 800 million hungry people on earth, as many as 400 million in Asia alone," Borlaug said at the IARI Auditorium at New Delhi on March 16 2005. He went on to say, "We will have to double the world food supply by 2050," a feat he saw as improbable with our current agricultural resources and means. 

Still actively pursuing his dreams to end world hunger through biotechnology well into his 90s, this amazing man was still the president of the Sasakawa Africa Association, an sister organization of the Carter Center and whose goal is to test and promote higher-yielding technology for maize, wheat, rice, grain legumes, and roots and tubers to help feed African nations, up until this year. And he was also still teaching at Texas A&M with a center there named after him, the Norman E. Borlaug Center for Southern Crop Improvement.. He also has numerous other research centers across the world in Bolivia, the UK, and the US standing in his name. Borlaug is immortalized within a stained glass window called the "World Peace Window" at St. Mark's Cathedral in Minneapolis, Minnesota and is survived by his two children, his grandkids and more than a pair of great grandkids.

It says something as a country and as a society when we give more press to someone who entertains than who helps actually save lives. I'm not saying we shouldn't mourn Swayze's or Jackson's deaths, far from it, I was totally struck when I heard about MJ dying and even a bit sad about Swayze. But to have SUCH little press out there about this true global hero's death is just down right despicable when every other image on TV, like CNN, is still about MJ and now Swayze (and yes Kennedy too but that's a whole other ball of wax) and there's a mere two-second blip about Borlaug. Sad. The man deserves a great tribute and he should be plastered all over the TV screens as well as all the dailies.

This man has done so much to help our world and the human race it's impossible for me to have time to relate it all right now. Here are some more credible places to read about this amazing individual: New York Times, and Forbes

 

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