The Green Revolution happened in the 1950s in response to greater demands for food from earth’s growing population. Two main strategies used to increase food production included developing more productive plant varieties through selective breeding and using monoculture to grow vast fields of one crop. With these new strategies came other innovations and greater reliance on irrigation, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and heavy equipment.
The benefits of the Green Revolution cannot be overstated. Food production has grown closer to meeting worldwide demand, and this has helped prevent food shortages in some places. The Green Revolution has been particularly helpful in areas with large populations like China and India.
Despite these benefits, the widespread and non-stop use of farming practices that rely on large monocultures has been very detrimental. It has resulted in depleted water supplies and encouraged growth of certain pests that thrive on certain plants being grown. Use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers has polluted the environment and food supply with toxins. All these practices have greatly interfered with natural processes.
The Green Revolution’s chosen types of farming practices have helped in the short term but are unsustainable. As Earth’s population continues to grow, the need for increased food production still exists, but it is now necessary to find cleaner and safer ways of meeting the demand. At the heart of the issue, the monoculture cultivation strategy is not conducive to growing crops in a clean or healthy way. Crops need to be rotated to help with maintaining the soil to lessen the reliance on chemical fertilizers. Different crops can be grown together in cases where one crop’s natural ability to repel certain pests benefits the other crop. Crops that do not require copious amounts of water should be considered. Better water practices, including recycling runoff could be possible if the water were not contaminated by pesticides. Lastly, there needs to be greater diversity of farms in more areas. Though it may look different from place to place, local farms should be the norm and people should grow accustomed to eating food when it is in season.