Culture and climate change in south east Asia
Along with the water, food is surely the most valuable element in the sustenance of the human race. Around 12,000 years ago, before the advent of agriculture, there were approximately 1 million people living in the world. And 12,000 years later that number grew to reach 1 billion people in 1800, to then skyrocket in the last two centuries and reach 7.5 billionduring 2016. In 2050, at the dawn of a new world, it is forecast that there will 10 billion of us in total. And if today the food industry is the biggest source of pollution on our planet, what will it be in the future? Southeast Asia, and Myanmar (Burma) in particular, is especially vulnerable as an agricultural region highly dependent upon one main food source – the sacred grain upon which more than 3.5 billion people around the globe depend on for survival: rice. In the Svalbard islands, 1,200 km from the North Pole, there is a very special structure called the “Global Seed Vault”, a global bank of seeds whose purpose is to guarantee a measure of security and conservation against the accidental loss of the tradition genetic patrimony, and among the more than 800,000 seeds preserved, there are the 21 plants most crucial to the earth, such as rice, corn, wheat, potatoes, apples and so on. Why such an enormous investment, made by governments and even by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which bore much of the cost with 25 million euro in support, only for a purpose of prevention?