Can man live by organics alone? Sure he can. But the real question is, can all six billion of us? Writing in the New Yorker
, Harvard history of science professor Steven Shapin says the answer is no
... if synthetic fertilizers suddenly disappeared from the face of the earth, about two billion people would perish. ... the fact remains that, to unwind conventional agriculture, you would have to unwind some highly valued features of the modern world order. Given the way the world now is, sustainably grown and locally produced organic food is expensive. Genetically modified, industrially produced monocultural corn is what feeds the victims of an African famine, not the gorgeous organic technicolor Swiss chard from your local farmers’ market. Food for a “small planet” will, for the foreseeable future, require a much smaller human population on the planet.