When Justus Freiherr von Liebig discovered artificial fertilizer in 1860, no one could imagine that this discovery would unleash an agricultural revolution.
But there is another side to the coin, of course: the undesirable enrichment of air, soil and water with nitrogen. Fertilizer turned out to be bad news for nature. In the form of nitrate, nitrogen poses a steadily bigger threat to the quality of drinking water, while in the form of ammonia it leads to acidification. As early as 1959, Victor Westhoff spoke in terms of ‘black breath' in an article in De Levende Natuur (Living Nature). What should be done? In my opinion, Wageningen should take the lead again in tackling the problems. Major changes are needed. So let us start another revolution. Nature and landscape on the one hand, and health and welfare on the other, are crying out for creative thinkers and actors.