The Boy Who Saved 2 Billion People

July 28, 2011

Norman Borlaug is ninety-one years old. His work hybridizing corn and wheat for arid climates has saved two billion people on our planet.

The Butterfly Effect - Our Actions Make a Difference!

On the surface you would think, that’s incredible! But by reading history and understanding the far-reaching consequences of our actions, I understand that it wasn’t really Norman Borlaug who was responsible for saving so many lives…  it was a guy named Henry Wallace.

President Roosevelt had three Vice Presidents during his four terms. The middle one was a man named Henry Wallace, the former Secretary of Agriculture.

While he was Vice President of the United States, he used the power of his office to create a station in Mexico whose sole purpose was to hybridize corn and wheat for arid climates. And he hired a young man named Norman Borlaug to run it. Norman Borlaug won the Nobel Prize. But when you think about it, it was really Henry Wallace who saved the two billion people.

Unless maybe, it was George Washington Carver – you’ve heard of Carver, right?

When he was nineteen years old and a student at Iowa State University, George had a Diary Sciences Professor who on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, would allow this brilliant student to take his six-year-old boy on botanical expeditions.

So it was George Washington Carver who took six-year-old Henry Wallace (long before he ever thought about being Vice President of the United States) and put a vision in his life about plants and what they could do for humanity.

So when you think about it, Carver developed  two hundred and sixty-six things from the peanut that we still use today, and developed eighty-eight things from the sweet potato.

But it was a few afternoons one summer with a six-year-old boy that just happened to save the lives of two billion people and counting.

(Adapted from author Andy Andrews)

What small actions have you seen make a huge difference? You can comment here.