The Atlantic on Agricultural Fertilizer

Over at the Atlantic, Alex Fitzsimmons has an article on a vastly under-appreciated technology: synthetic fertilizer.   Fitzsimmons notes concerns about excess fertilizer application and reliance on fossil fuels, but he also weights that against the fact that we have forestalled the dire Malthusian concerns.

Fitzsimmons quotes me as saying:

Pessimists like Malthus and Ehrlich consider people a self-destructive drain on nature, but as Lusk, the Oklahoma State University agricultural economist sees it, “they underestimated the ability of humans to adapt and innovate and make productive use of the resources we have available.”

Its nice to see some attention paid to this subject in the popular press. In any event, you can read the whole thing here.