Pamela Ronald has always felt at home around plants--nurturing them, modifying them, propagating them--so it seems natural that she is developing new crop varieties. One of her breakthroughs: a strain of flood-resistant rice created through precision breeding, not genetic engineering. The new rice has increased yields three- to fivefold under flood conditions in countries including Bangladesh, India, and Indonesia. The question to ask about a new crop, she says, "is not 'Is it GM?' but 'Can it help food security in less developed nations?'"
In this presentation for The Long Now Foundation, Ronald looks at radical changes to the agriculture system over the last 10,000 years.