06 September 2012

Upcoming Lecture on the "Green Revolution" at the University of Missouri

Next Tuesday I'll be giving a seminar at the University of Missouri on some of my work in progress related to innovation, with a focus on the so-called "green revolution." If you are in the vicinity please stop by and say hello.

Here are the details:

“The Mythology of the Green Revolution” a seminar by Dr. Roger A. Pielke, Jr, Tuesday, September 11,  1:30pm in the Benton Bingham Ballroom, Memorial Union

Dr. Pielke is a Professor in the Environmental Studies Program and a Fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has authored The Honest Broker: Making Sense of Science in Policy and Politics and The Climate Fix: What Scientists and Politicians Won’t Tell you About Global Warming. There will be time for questions. Seating is limited and refreshments will be available. This event is free and open to the public.


The "green revolution" has been studied from many angles. In this talk I discuss work in progress on how the "green revolution" became characterized in terms of science and innovation. This particular mythology of the green revolution emerged more than 40 years ago from a complex stew of factors, among them the political and scientific interests of neo-Malthusians, American Cold War policies, scientists seeking influence in high level political debates and the vagaries of nature.  The mythology often repeated today emphasizes "revolution" as a burst of scientific innovation and its successful, essentially technocratic, application to solve an emerging crisis of famine. But when the historical context is examined, this mythology suffers from several empirical shortfalls. A more useful view of the "green revolution" -- a different mythology, perhaps -- may be summarized as the "green evolution."  Science and innovation as related to agricultural productivity have been consciously implemented for more than 250 years, at least in Europe (perhaps longer elsewhere), characterized by incremental progress punctuated by occasional major scientific breakthroughs. This evolution has at times been transformative and has never been dissociated from its social and political consequences. The mythology of the "green revolution" may thus distract more than enlighten.