Rice is crime

Hey everyone! I’m sorry I haven’t written anything in a long time, today I went to eat sushi and I remembered a lecture I attended a few weeks ago at the university… I heard something I didn’t know about rice from a Finnish Politician, Sirpa Pietikäinen from the European parliament.


She really had a talent to speak in a way that made you listen! So here comes something she told us, rewritten in my words because I didn’t record the lecture 😀 . As most politicans do, I think she is exaggerating a bit to prove a point but I still think there might be some truth in what she says… I really thought I’ll stop eating rice after hearing this lecture! But then again…I could not resist eating sushi today even if I know it would be better if I didn’t…

Sirpa Pietikäinen at University of Helsinki.

Sirpa Pietikäinen at University of Helsinki.

“Riisi on rikos” (rice is crime in Finnish) are Pietikäinens words. So, halft the world lives on rice. The new, in Pietikäinen ironical worlds, “brilliant idea” is to comersially grow rice in different African countries. Why? Well the labour and the land there is really cheap. The temperature is of course quite high as well, which is nice for rice. But anyone who knows anything about rice knows that it requires a lot of fresh water to grow. And anyone who knows anything about Africa, knows that there is too little fresh water in many regions there.

So what to do? Well, of course! Let’s drain a lake, and take all the fresh water from there! But what about the local fishermen getting their livehoods from the lake? Well too bad, the world wants rice,damn it! Sub-saharan Africa is also famous for different insects and these can be a bit hard on the rice. The solution is of course pesticides! Isn’t it amazing how the pesticides that have been forbidden in Europe for tens of years are still allowed in most African countries! Cheap and wonderfully toxic pesticides, now we can make money! But whoops… The rice plants die from the pesticides. What to do? Alter a few genes of course, now the new improved GMO rice can stand the pesticides! And what about the rice-plantage workers whose health suffer from the pesticides? Luckily they don’t have that strict work-health laws in most African countries.

Everyone in the audience laughed when she continued: and after the rice is sold to Europe half of it ends up as bio-waste, we do want to avoid carbs so it’s best to eat just half of the portion!

Yes I did eat all that rice..once it's on my plate it's no point throwing it away!

Yummie dinner at Nepalese restaurant.Yes I did eat all that rice..once it’s on my plate it’s no point throwing it away!

Tadaa, the product is cheap rice to throw away and destroyed African communities! Maybe if rice wasn’t so cheap it wouldn’t be thrown away? I hadn’t thought of this the times I ate rice, it’s good to get a wake-up call! Besides, growing rice in excessive amounts can contribute to climate change because when the rice-plants roots start to rotten underwater it produces greenhouse gasses. At least here in northern Europe, I think we should stick to potatoes that are easily grown here! As a sushi lover it’s unfortunately easier said than done. Though, my wallet would also love it if I stopped eating sushi 😀 Maybe I should have a “sushi-strike”…

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