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Social sciences


Development issues

Grade 9

Module 4

Political background

The role of technological development in solving environmental issues

Technology and the growing need for food

As the world population grows, natural resources become more strained. This means that the soil must produce even more crops to feed the population. Traditional methods of cultivating crops are no longer efficient to produce food for the entire world population. In some countries, however a surplus or overproduction of agricultural crops is presently produced (e.g. in the USA), while other countries still have a problem in respect of meeting the nutritional needs of the population (e.g. in Ethiopia, where a famine rages).

In an effort to rectify the situation, scientific methods are applied to increase the production of agricultural crops. For this, however, money, manpower, technology and research are needed. If it is successful, new cultivars may be developed, yielding higher crops than traditional crops. Certain cultivars of maize yield more heads than in the past. This in turn leads to a higher agricultural production, which means that more people can be fed. People suffering from malnutrition cannot remain healthy, continue working, and care for their families. Where people do not earn money to meet their basic needs, they cannot develop, and nor can their children. Neither can they contribute to the development their country.


Biotechnology refers to scientific techniques based on a knowledge of biology. Biology studies life processes, for instance in plants. This knowledge plays an important role in the development of new crops. It may help to reduce the time and costs attached to the process of development. Other methods include the use of genes to combat soil toxicity, making plants insect-resistant, as well as increasing the nutritional value of plants.

In developing countries farmers can profit from methods such as adding a certain gene to the canola plant that produces betacarotene. This helps to replenish Vitamin A-deficiencies and thereby prevent damage to the eyes. Certain aspects related to safety and the ethics of genetic manipulation, however, still need to be clarified. Ethics deals with the moral principles of what is “right and wrong”.

The sciences also contribute to the improved management of our natural resources. In this way problems such as water shortages, the loss of fertile soil, the loss of natural trees and forests, an impairment of biodiversity, as well as the exhaustion of our fishing resources can be avoided.

Activity 1:

To find information on biotechnology and the application of scientific techniques

[[lo 2.3]

  1. Although these processes are highly scientific, it might be a good idea to ask a person specialising in this field to speak to you in clear, everyday language. Most farmers and agricultural officers are particularly good at this, while someone from a local cooperative, laboratory or agricultural school could also make a contribution.
  2. You could form small groups to conduct interviews with a number of these individuals.
  3. Posters on your findings can make an interesting exhibition for all the learners of your school, and even for neighbouring schools and members of the public.
  4. Why is biodiversity (maintaining different forms of life) so important?

Questions & Answers

a perfect square v²+2v+_
Dearan Reply
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Abdirahman Reply
algebra 2 Inequalities:If equation 2 = 0 it is an open set?
Kim Reply
or infinite solutions?
Embra Reply
if |A| not equal to 0 and order of A is n prove that adj (adj A = |A|
Nancy Reply
rolling four fair dice and getting an even number an all four dice
ramon Reply
Kristine 2*2*2=8
Bridget Reply
Differences Between Laspeyres and Paasche Indices
Emedobi Reply
No. 7x -4y is simplified from 4x + (3y + 3x) -7y
Mary Reply
is it 3×y ?
Joan Reply
J, combine like terms 7x-4y
Bridget Reply
im not good at math so would this help me
Rachael Reply
how did I we'll learn this
Noor Reply
f(x)= 2|x+5| find f(-6)
Prince Reply
f(n)= 2n + 1
Samantha Reply
Need to simplify the expresin. 3/7 (x+y)-1/7 (x-1)=
Crystal Reply
. After 3 months on a diet, Lisa had lost 12% of her original weight. She lost 21 pounds. What was Lisa's original weight?
Chris Reply
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
can nanotechnology change the direction of the face of the world
Prasenjit Reply
At high concentrations (>0.01 M), the relation between absorptivity coefficient and absorbance is no longer linear. This is due to the electrostatic interactions between the quantum dots in close proximity. If the concentration of the solution is high, another effect that is seen is the scattering of light from the large number of quantum dots. This assumption only works at low concentrations of the analyte. Presence of stray light.
Ali Reply
the Beer law works very well for dilute solutions but fails for very high concentrations. why?
bamidele Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Geography grade 9. OpenStax CNX. Sep 14, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11057/1.1
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