Even as we stare down the barrel of feeding a population of 11 billion against the backdrop of a treacherous climate, we’re fighting about how to grow food.

Weeks out from the 100th birthday of Nobel Prize Winner Norman Borlaug, the so called ‘father of the green revolution,’ which averted famine in Asia in the 1970s, the latest issue of COSMOS Science Magazine has focused its lens on these global Food Wars – and why science must win if we are to feed the world.

“Dangerously romanticized views of agriculture have become part of the mainstream – politicians win votes by championing organic methods and banning GM,” Cosmos Magazine’s Editor in Chief Elizabeth Finkel said.

“This politically fertile battle has little to do with how we grow food in the most sustainable way, and keep it affordable and nutritious for all.  Science and technology are a critical part of the answer,” Finkel said.

“Much of the material on this topic is extremely polarized supporting the truism that people inform themselves only to shore up their prejudices.

“I believe people need and are eager for well-researched, well- substantiated, well-told information, that’s why we have devoted the entire current issue of COSMOS Science Magazine to focus on this critical subject.

“This is a complex topic with many facets – it has been a huge feat but we have attempted to present them all here: historical, political, psychological and technological,” she said.

“Our goal is to bring the best thinkers, writers and scientists from around the world to this stalemated conversation with an stunning array of articles from many of Norman Borlaug’s ‘heirs.’

The heirs of Norman Borlaug and contributors to this amazing issue include Robert Zeigler – Director General International Rice Research Institute, Nina Fedoroff – plant scientist and former presidential advisor, Mark Lynas- former anti GM activist, Agnes Ricroh – French scientist on backroom deals with Greens, Keith Kloor – NY-based writer, writing on Monsanto and David Ropeik – US consultant on psychology of fear of GM crops.

Keith Kloor, the New York based writer for COSMOS examines “…which is the real Monsanto? The one poisoning the world and failing to improve crops with genetically modified seeds, or the mega-successful company with the top science officer extolled for helping to make agriculture more productive, resilient, and cost-effective?

“How can one company be so reviled and lauded at the same time?”

Robert Zeigler, director general of the International Rice Research Institute, writing a rare opinion piece reflects on his own life’s work and the doomsday predictions of many who opposed, and still do oppose, the work central to the Green Revolution. “They assumed that the future would be like the past. The role of science was precisely to make the future different from the past,” Zeigler writes.

The environmental movement professes a deep attachment to science in areas such as climate change but often rejects it when it comes to genetically modified crops. Mark Lynas, a former anti-GMO activist, now a fellow at Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, explains in this issue of COSMOS why he changed his mind on GM.

“After two decades during which several hundred scientific studies have uncovered not a single substantiated case of harm specifically to do with transgenics, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Royal Society, the African Academy of Sciences, and other expert bodies have decided the jury is in.”

Lynas asks “…so why has the environmental movement – which professes a deep attachment to science in other areas – refused to acknowledge that the world has moved on from the ‘Frankenfoods’ scare?”

“Our goal is to bring the best thinkers, writers and scientists from around the world to this stalemated conversation with an stunning array of articles from many of Norman Borlaug’s heirs,” Finkel concludes.


  • COSMOS Magazine’s Editor in Chief is available for interview and interviews can be arranged with a number of the global contributors.
  • Select pieces from the Magazine can be utilised with attribution by other publications.

About Norman Borlaug

Norman Borlaug (March 25, 1914 – September 12, 2009) was an American agronomist, humanitarian, and Nobel laureate who has been called “the father of the Green Revolution.” Dr. Borlaug was one of only six people to have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.

Dr. Norman Borlaug dedicated almost six decades to the ending of world hunger and to the acceleration of agricultural productivity in the developing world. He talked to more peasant farmers and visited more wheat fields than any living person. Dr. Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his lifetime of work to help feed the hungry world.



AUSTRALIA’S #1 science media brand, COSMOS is a literary science magazine with a global following. It reaches 600,000 people every month. COSMOS is internationally respected for its literary writing, excellence in design and engaging breadth of content. It’s the winner of 47 awards, including Australia’s Magazine of the Year trophy in both 2009 and 2006, and twice the Editor of the Year accolade, at the annual Publishers Australia Excellence Awards.

COSMOS has also won the American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award, the Reuters/IUCN Award for Excellence in Environmental Journalism, the City of Sydney Lord Mayor’s Sustainability Award, an Earth
Journalism Awards and two National Press Club awards.