A few days ago, I waddled out of the airport to meet my husband and kids, relieved to have made it home from my final work-related trip just three weeks before my due date.
I had been away for nearly two weeks, during which time my husband put his own business priorities aside to support my professional demands. He was the single parent of two, taking care of all of the domestic chores of running a house and keeping two young children, fed, healthy, and happy.
My husband’s willingness to take on a disproportionate share of our household’s unpaid work allows me to continue my work at the Alliance for Science — to ensure access to scientific innovations that will improve the environment and quality of life for people who live with outdated agricultural technologies that limit their productivity and well-being. It is his gift, not only to my family’s future, but to the global family to which we all belong.
We all hope that personal and professional investments in the Alliance for Science will ultimately ensure that households everywhere have the same access to safe nutritious food that we enjoy; that moms and dads globally will, with the same ease, be able to provide their children with three nutritious meals a day.
At the Alliance for Science, we’re highlighting success stories from around the world, ranging from champion farming families who, with access to new agricultural innovations, have been able to improve the lives of their families and those of their neighbors. They can now afford to invest in transformative experiences like expanding their farming operations and sending their kids to school.
Many — I would venture to say, most — of these transformative agricultural technologies reduce agriculture’s negative impact on the environment. Agricultural technologies such as Bt eggplant grown by farmers in Bangladesh are estimated to reduce pesticide use by more than 80% — a huge boon for the health of farming families and the environment.
Our challenge is to support the research, development, and implementation of other new agricultural technologies — often conveniently packaged in an easily distributed seed — to ensure that many more farmers can join the estimated 19 million farmers globally who already enjoy access to agricultural biotechnologies that improve the environment and raise the quality of their lives.
In her annual letter, Melinda Gates tells us to “recognize, reduce, distribute,” in order to help women across the developing world realize their potential. When we recognize that the food philosophies we hold dear in the developed world may reduce progress toward addressing pressing challenges in the developing world, we take the first great steps to redistribute and ensure equitable access to agricultural innovation for all.