One of the greatest men of the 20th century, and perhaps the greatest man most people have never heard of, has died. According to the Associated Press:
Scientist and Nobel Peace Prize winner rose from his childhood on an Iowa farm to develop a type of wheat that helped feed the world, fostering a movement that is credited with saving up to 1 billion people from starvation.
Borlaug, 95, died Saturday from complications of cancer at his Dallas home, said Kathleen Phillips, a spokesman for Texas A&M University where Borlaug was a distinguished professor.
“Norman E. Borlaug saved more lives than any man in human history,” said Josette Sheeran, executive director of the U.N. World Food Program. “His heart was as big as his brilliant mind, but it was his passion and compassion that moved the world.”
He was known as the father of the “,” which transformed agriculture through high-yield crop varieties and other innovations, helping to more than double world food production between 1960 and 1990. Many experts credit the green revolution with averting global famine during the second half of the 20th century and saving perhaps 1 billion lives.
It might also be mentioned that he was one of the early trustees of Bread for the World, the Christian anti-hunger organization.
The names of evil men whose actions resulted in the deaths of millions–Hitler, Stalin, Mao–are known to most people if not all. The name of Norman Borlaug, whose work likely saved more lives than the number of those killed in all the wars and gulags of the 20th century, is known by relatively few. Despite his lack of notoriety, few individuals have had a more positive effect on the world around him.