In recent years, the fate of the world has been a hot topic. With iconic shows like, The Walking Dead, and films like, Zombieland, the population is clearly growing more and more conscious of the Earth’s pending demise and/ or its devastation. There are people reopening their bomb shelters and stocking up supplies just in case and emergency strikes. No one wants to be unprepared, and even the most sane have to ponder, “Is there something to this end of the world phenomenon?” When considering the construction of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, one must think there’s some stock in planning for the end.
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is located in Spitsbergen. This Norwegian island is less than a thousand miles from the North Pole. If it wasn’t understood that this is supposed to be the Earth’s back up plan, the next logical explanation is that it’s Santa’s home away from home. Alas, this seed vault houses a very diverse supply of extra seeds, replicas of the ones found in the global gene banks. The vault was established by Cary Fowler with the support of the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research.
While the Zombie Apocalypse isn’t completely out the door in terms of what will end the world (none of us are psychic), the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is meant to rebuild the samples in the event of a natural disaster, budget cuts, failed equipment, or anything else that might realistically require the world to tap into these resources. Often called the Doomsday Vault, almost a million seeds are stored there in case the world needs to restore biodiversity. These seeds are held in special packaging in certain temperatures.
The vault is highly guarded, and the Norwegian government paid over nine million dollars for its construction. It’s proof that you get what you pay for. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault can withstand a nuclear attack and an intense climate change because it is cut into the rock in a sandstone composed mountain. Its location was decided on because of its lack of tectonic activity, its seclusion from any civilizations, and the frigid climate that will deter visitors and act as natural coolers for the seeds.
The vault is growing exponentially as seed banks all over the globe are supplying their varieties to the one in Spitsbergen, and has inspired the creation of similar, smaller banks worldwide. A factor of the post- apocalyptic world that is often overlooked in the movies is crop diversification. Without it, citizens of Planet Earth may never be able to restore themselves to their position of omnivore. Many different plants and higher level herb eating may be lost in this New World, which means the human race won’t have access to the multitude of flavors and nutrients available, and that’s something we truly can’t afford.
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