Feeding the world in a changing climate
Here is the second dispatch from our reporter Carl Gierstorfer, presently filming on location in the Philippines:
"Second day shooting at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). Anyone talking about world food security cannot ignore IRRI's contribution. Many popular strains of rice, grown on millions of hectares, have been bred here. IRRI was founded half a century ago. But maybe its real challenges lie ahead. Until 2050 another three to four billion people need to be fed. The majority of them on rice. With less resources, an unpredictable climate, and not much more land.
Yet still, scientists here are optimistic: they think they can meet the challenges. Meet Sigrid Heuer, a German molecular biologist. She worked on a team that bred Sub-1, a strain of rice that can survive flash floods, which are expected to become more common due to climate change. Mining IRRI's seed bank, with more than 125,000 varieties, never disappoints the scientists. In the cold archives, there are long forgotten strains; rejected because they were not tasty enough, or had too little yield. But these loners might just have that special trait required in the future – like surviving underwater for two weeks. Or tolerating salty conditions. Scientists like Heuer look for these varieties; they isolate useful traits and breed them into popular strains. Sub-1 is simply Asia's most favorite variety with a gene that allows it to survive heavy floods.
IRRI is a little world in itself. More than 800 people work here; buildings and fields are spread out over a wide area; a settlement with its own fire fighters and strange 1950s architecture. I had a stroll around at night – have a look at the pictures. And, yes, alcohol is forbidden here. Some of IRRI's founders apparently were Quakers…"
DateJanuary 18, 2011
Sustainable Rice production in the Philippines – Day 1
Our reporter Carl Gierstorfer has just started filming in the Philippines for one of our upcoming reports. Here is his first dispatch:
"First day filming at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) south of Manila. How could rice be possibly interesting? Well, it's mankind's most important crop. The main source of carbohydrates for more than half the world's population. Employer, source of income, pillar of urban settlements. Rice has been farmed for thousands of years, different varieties bred and selected. What's common to all is that they need a lot of water. And therein lies the problem. Climate change will make water supplies very unpredictable. What's more: when rice paddies are flooded with water they emit methane, a powerful greenhous gas. In rice producing countries like Thailand, China, the Philippines this means lots and lots of it. Rice, the staple of billions also contributes to global warming.
How to change this? How to make rice both climate friendly and resistant to climate change ? People here at IRRI have some very smart ideas. Stay tuned."
DateJanuary 17, 2011
Recycling in Bali – day 4: Tradition hard-pressed for answers
While shooting for our report about the garbage problem on the island of Bali, we were invited to attend a traditional Hindu dance ceremony in a little village temple. In Bali, Hinduism is blended with a very old religions entrenched in nature. Traditionally, people in the village used to live in balance with nature, like using banana-leafs to package or wrap food.
The dance in the video is a "flirting" dance. It's a way for the children to learn the rules and how to behave. But the traditional rules don't have an answer to the garbage problem. Many people dispose of their rubbish by just throwing it away, because they don't know what else to do. What they told me is, they see the problem and they wait for solutions.
(For those of you keen on finding out what our reporter looks like, check out the video at 1mins08secs.)
DateJanuary 14, 2011
Ok, you think it's all the fancy life for our reporters and camera folks crisscrossing the planet on their quest for exciting stories? Well, yes. And no, because much of it is very hard work, including hours of shooting on trash dumps. But even when a little break seems well deserved our reporter Manuel and cameraman Axel stay on the job – sort of. While Manuel is crafting the story that's supposed to come out of all the footage, Axel is exploring new frontiers with his cameras. Check out the result for yourself. We bet you've never experienced surf-riding as intensely as here – unless you've been on a board yourself:
Here's what Manuel says: "During a break we took some surf-pictures. We put a special camera on the Surfboard of Nino, the surfer. At the end of the take the camera broke. Many thanks to Nino." For anyone interested in repeating the stunt, Axel adds: "This video was shot in a few hours at Keramas Beach with the Go Pro HD (720p, 25fps) and the Sony EX 3 (Full HD). Rough Cut and no color correction. Many thanks to Nino, the Surfer."
DateJanuary 13, 2011
Recycling in Bali – Day 3: Complaining about the trash
We start at one of Bali's beautiful beaches. The tourists here are complaining about the garbage on the Island. The woman on the sun-lounger in the film says that there are too many people in the country who don't work. She adds that those people should clean up the streets. But she's not aware that a lot of people are already collecting garbage on the trash dumps. There's just too much of it. One of the reasons for the growing garbage is the booming tourism industry on the island. Tourists are producing most of the trash. Environmentalists are working on a solution–a functional recycling system. A woman collecting garbage says that she separates the glass from plastic bottles to sell them later on.
DateJanuary 13, 2011