How to Save the Planet — By Work, Not Placards!

By Vijay Jayaraj Published on August 8, 2018

If you’re a churchgoer, you’ve heard about heroes of faith in the Bible. But rarely do we hear in church about people who changed the world through science and technology.

The United States and many parts of Europe are going through strange times. It is difficult to scout for talent that will save our planet from its problems.

Today, too many of youth rally behind a handful of thought leaders with policies based on pseudoscientific theories. Protests and demonstrations address climate change, freebie-demand, abortion, gender identity, income inequality, even cake baking. They keep young people from pursuing stable careers.

Millennials and others abandon time-tested principles like hard work, tolerance, academic freedom and entrepreneurship. So their hostile lives, embrace of socialism and aversion to hard work make them unable to contribute to society.

In our dark times, we need to remember people who, through hard work, faith and willingness to embrace challenges, changed our world.

One such man was Norman Borlaug.

Borlaug witnessed poverty in his youth. His Christian faith wouldn’t let his sensitive conscience ignore it. His compassion drove him to leave a high-paying job at DuPont and find solutions.

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He went to Mexico. There he developed new crop varieties with higher yields to bring down food prices. He identified and grew new varieties with greater resistance to disease and drought. He developed new technologies that lowered the cost of production.

His step of faith was preceded by his willingness to leave the comfort of life in the United States. It was rooted in the Biblical call to love his neighbor as himself.

Soon, Borlaug’s fame spread. India and Pakistan invited him to do help develop their agricultural sectors. As a result, though on the brink of collapse in the 1960s, the countries flourished using Borlaug’s rice, maize and wheat varieties.

His work in India and Pakistan won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970. He continued to work for the rest of his life to extend crop yields and relieve hunger and poverty. He received America’s Congressional Gold Medal, the Padma Vibhushan (India’s second-highest civilian honor), and many other awards.

More importantly, his innovations helped billions to have food on their plates (including the bowl of rice I had this afternoon).

But Borlaug gave us an important lesson. It should be retold to young people:

You can change the world! Look beyond political class, personal prejudices and ideologies. Commit to work you’re passionate about, work hard, respect the law and genuinely love others.


Vijay Jayaraj (M.Sc., Environmental Science, University of East Anglia, England), Research Associate for Developing Countries for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, lives in Chennai, India.

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  • Starlord616

    I agree . I believe in doing the right thing even if everyone else thinks your wrong.

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