In decades past, conservation was notorious for ignoring other development goals. These days, its focus has expanded to consider those other goals, including the prevention of poverty and hunger. In fact, there seems to be a tendency to assume that conservation is always compatible with them, and necessary to achieve them. There is certainly truth in that, but are we talking enough about the inevitable trade-offs? And, if everyone agrees that we should minimize trade-offs, why is the Green Revolution - one of the greatest “trade-off minimizers” in history often vilified by environmentalists?
In this episode of The Case for Conservation Podcast, Prabhu Pingali shares his thoughts on the green revolution, and more generally on trade-offs between development goals. Prabhu is Professor of Applied Economics at Cornell University and has worked in senior positions at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, FAO, the CGIAR, and other key development institutions.
Links to resources
Unintended consequences lecture - A video masterclass presented by Prabhu
Are the Lessons from the Green Revolution relevant for Agricultural Growth and Food Security in the 21st Century? - An open access book chapter by Prabhu on "the policy redirections needed for a ‘redux’ version of the Green Revolution that enhances food and nutrition security and economic development while minimizing social, environmental, and health tradeoffs"
Green Revolution: Impacts, limits, and the path ahead - Prabhu's 2012 PNAS article, to which we refer in our discussion
Hunger and environmental goals for Asia: Synergies and trade-offs among the SDGs - An article by Prabhu in 2022 article in the journal "Environmental Challenges"