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Riddhish Saravanan: The Rice Games

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Riddhish Saravanan tells us about a time the effects of climate change had his family scrambling for an everyday staple.

When India stopped exporting non-basmati white rice, it sent the world into shock. By doing this, they limited the amount of rice leaving the country and sent us Indians all over the world into total chaos.

We dropped everything we were doing to drive 20 over the speed limit and get to the nearest grocery store ASAP, only to find, someone had already cleared the rice section.

Rice is the quintessential Asian meal. In some ways, this staple of my life and that of so many others is connected to a majority of the food we eat.

In South Indian culture, a dish called dosa, a crispy Indian crepe of sorts, is very popular. It’s the last thing you would ever expect to be made with rice, but it is.


In some ways this is the end of an era, a staple became a luxury. The food of the common man has turned into something that sells out within 5 minutes of a store opening.

Why this sudden shift, you ask? 2 words: Climate Change. We have been seeing the effects play out in front of our eyes, from Maui wildfires, to hurricanes, to this rice shortage. The effects of our mishandling of our one and only home have been intensified all over the world.

So to deal with reduced supply and decrease domestic prices, India made the jarring move, and banned rice exports.

If you have been on social media anytime over the last couple of months, you’ve probably seen the videos: people jumping on top of each other to reach the rice at Costco, people crowding stores long before they even open.

My parents even went “rice hunting,” (I never thought I’d say that) after getting frantic calls from our friends who were out of town asking if they could reserve a bag. Poof, my Sunday evening was gone.

So is this the time we finally take action? Can we pull together and do our part to help slow down climate change? Like the most frequent answer ChatGPT gives me, I dont know.

But I sure hope we ca try to fix the mess we started.

With a Perspective, I’m Riddhish Saravanan.

Riddhish Saravanan is a high school freshman from Dublin. In his free time he likes to read books and listen to KQED.

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