Compare and contrast the result of the Green Revolution with that of Mess-American agricultural systems.

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gsenviro | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The Green Revolution is an agricultural revolution and a series of initiatives that led to increased production of food crops around the world, most notably in the developing countries, and is credited with saving millions from starvation. The common practices that were used include the development of high-yield varieties, better irrigation facilities, distribution of hybrid seeds/fertilizers and pesticides, and better management practices. An example of the success of the Green Revolution is the threefold increase in per hectare rice yield in India (between the 1960s and 1990s), with a sharp decline in the price of rice (from $550 a ton in the 1970s to $200/ton in 2001). Similar success was also achieved in a number of other countries, except for African countries where corruption and a lack of infrastructure led to the failure of the Green Revolution efforts.

The American Agriculture System, on the other hand, is heavily industrialized and extremely dependent on chemicals. Another important difference is the emphasis on genetically modified (GMO) seeds, which have been resisted by farmers in countries undergoing the Green Revolution (India is an example of this). The increase in productivity has come at an enormous environmental cost to the US. In several areas, the surface water has become extremely contaminated and is not even fit for bathing (Toledo, Ohio). In Iowa, $1 million is spent annually to keep nitrates (generated from agricultural run-off) away from drinking supplies. GMO seeds have also caused health concerns. They continue to be a subject of controversy and debate.

In general, the Green Revolution has led to massive gains in productivity (with relatively less environmental damage) compared to the US agricultural system, where gains in productivity are seriously undermined by extensive environmental issues. 

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