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'Green does not always mean good!' Sarah Mariam Koshy

The truth is that, when I started drawing a paddy field, in my mind, I was going to talk about how serene, how beautiful those paddy fields sprawling across acres of land appear. How green and rich! I assumed it would most definitely have tons of environmental benefits, too, because it's all green, wouldn't you think, and GREEN is good, is it not?

Well, wrong! On further research on the topic I found out that rice paddy fields are one of the major emitters of greenhouse gases (GHGs), especially in India. Apparently, rice's climate footprint is comparable to that of international aviation!

Well, rice is a staple to lot of us and I am not discouraging its consumption but to be able to carry on with the lifestyle we will have to take steps. Primarly, how rice paddy fields are managed would determine the amount of GHG emission. Now, let us get into a bit of science here: Rice paddy fields are a source of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), and these are GHGs.

To minimise emission: Farmers will have to do more than what is in practice, presently. Since rice is a staple to more than half of world's population, the solution to scrap rice from our diet wouldn't at all be a feasible one, especially, for world food security. The factors to consider when addressing the GHG emission are: Are there other crops grown in rotation with rice and which are those? Organisms living in the soil, climate and soil's chemical and physical properties, too, will also determine emission rate. Once these are accounted for, we'll see a definite reduction in GHG emission. Then can we consume rice guilt-free!


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