Toxic Consequences of the Green Revolution
India: Four decades after the so-called Green Revolution enabled this vast nation to feed itself, some farmers are turning their backs on modern agricultural methods—the use of modified seeds, fertilizer, and pesticides—in favor of organic farming.
This is not a matter of producing gourmet food for environmentally attuned consumers but rather something of a life-and-death choice in villages like this one, where the benefits of the Green Revolution have been coupled with unanticipated harmful consequences from chemical pollution.
As driving their actions, the new organic farmers cite the rising costs of seed, fertilizer, and pesticides, and concerns that decades of chemical use is ruining the soil. But many are also revolting against what they see as the environmental degradation that has come with the new farming techniques, particularly the serious pollution of drinking water that village residents blame for causing cancer and other diseases.
"People are fed up with chemical farming," says Amarjit Sharma, a farmer for 30 years who began organic farming four years ago. "The earth is now addicted to the use of these chemicals."