The Green Revolution of Norman Borlaug, the American agronomist who did more to feed the world than any man before or since, set Sri Lanka on the path to agricultural abundance in 1970. It was built around chemical fertilizers and crops bred to be disease-resistant. Fifty-two years later, Sri Lanka has pulled off a revolution that is “antigreen” in the modern sense, toppling its president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa. In an uprising that has its roots in Mr. Rajapaksa’s imperious decision to impose organic farming on the entire country—which led to widespread hunger after the agricultural economy collapsed—Sri Lanka’s people have wrought the first contra-organic national uprising in history.
Footage of protesters swarming the presidential palace—splashing in the swimming pool, watching cricket on television in the bedroom, making tea in the lavish kitchen—resembled the mass break-in at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, but with none of the menace of the American trespass. Mr. Rajapaksa was in fact an American citizen until 2019, the year he was elected Sri Lanka’s president. He has now fled the country.