September 2009


I had seen stories over the weekend about the death of Norman Borlaug and hadn’t paid them much attention.  Last night, however, I had occasion to watch watch a profile of his life and work in a segment on the Lehrer News Hour.  So later in the night when I found myself browsing the New York Times on my iPhone, the consequence of finding myself awake in the middle night with lingering effects of a cold/flue over the weekend, I decided to read his obituary.  Impressive as it was, the full impact of his life didn’t really hit me, however, until I read a paragraph toward the end of the obit.  It is contained in the September 13, 2009, New York Times obituary entitled Norman Borlaug, Plant Scientist Who Fought Famine, Dies at 95:

“By Mr. Toenniessen’s calculation, about half the world’s population goes to bed every night after consuming grain descended from one of the high-yield varieties developed by Dr. Borlaug and his colleagues of the Green Revolution.”

Wow, talk about a life having an impact on the world.  This is clearly a man who’s life made a difference.  This is a true hero.  I hope there’s a lesson here that our lives can matter in the world;  that we can all make a difference.  We must but care enough to try.

As readers of this blog are well aware, I have been on sabbatical these last months.  I think one of the reasons I quit was that I could no longer cope with trying to blog using old technology — four year old PCs.  It took ages to download anything off of the web and even switching from one page to another on the screen was agonizingly slow.  I also risked with every attempt to post something that my entire system would crash.  Yesterday I purchased a new Apple laptop.  It appears I can actually now do things quickly.  Where it used to take me 20 minutes to finish even the smallest blog posting, I can now do it in 5 minutes.  I think that will mean I’ll be more inclined to give this a shot again.  It may also be a different blog.  I suspect it will be somewhat less political and more eclectic.  We’ll have to see.

Over the summer I have become increasingly convinced of the importance of supporting locally grown food.  Almost all of the vegetables, and even meat, that I have purchased this summer have come from local farms.  I am convinced that it is healthier and it’s clearly more energy efficient.  (Why should I be eating broccoli from California in the summer on the east coast?)  As concerns the meats I purchase, I am also convinced that the animals are much better cared for and lead much better lives (no feedlots or cramped living conditions).  There is a story today in the New York Times on local farming in New York State.  The article is entitled A Party for Local Farming and Locally Grown Food.