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The world record yield for paddy rice production is not held by an agricultural research station or by a large-scale farmer from the United States, but by Sumant Kumar who has a farm of just two hectares in Darveshpura village in the state of Bihar in northern India. His record yield of 22.4 tons per hectare, from a one-acre plot, was achieved with what is known as the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). To put his achievement in perspective, the average paddy yield worldwide is about four tons per hectare. Even with the use of fertilizer, average yields are usually not more than eight tons.
Sumant Kumar’s success was not a fluke. Four of his neighbors, using SRI methods, and all for the first time, matched or exceeded the previous world record from China, 19 tons per hectare...
It’s the GDP-obsessed growth model, many reformers argue, that’s leading us to perdition. They decry the irresponsibility of a relatively few taking more than their share, who are profligate with the earth’s dwindling resources. Certainly this “we’ve hit the limits” framing rings true, for, inarguably, human societies have exceeded the limits of destruction, depletion, and disruption our planet can sustain without massive human and nonhuman loss and suffering.
But is there a more effective way of understanding the roots of our predicament?
Here’s a possibility.
Let’s start with findings from neuroscience and psychology that offer significant clues about how we got into this mess: Humans beings, it turns out, don’t see the world as it is. “It is theory which...