seed pods

Norway's Doomsday Seed Vault

Norway is constructing the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, designed to house the world's seed crops in case of catastrophe. Dubbed the "Noah's Ark on Svalbard", the vault is located on the deserted arctic island of Spitsbergen, 300 miles off the coast of Norway. It is being built to ensure that food crops will be able to be re-established in the event of natural or human-induced disaster. Pretty good idea I think.

The vault is scheduled to open in 2008 and will begin accepting seeds from around the globe at that time as well. The vault will be temperature controlled and store millions of seeds in foil packets at temperatures so cold they are expected to remain frozen for hundreds or even thousands of years.

Even if the climate control systems fail the seeds will remain frozen. First, the storage facility is being built into the side of a mountain at the permafrost level, where the ground is always frozen. In the event of complete global warming, a series of airlocks and doors, in addition to the 3-foot thick concrete walls, leading into interior chambers, will ensure that the seeds remain frozen for many years.

While not a novel concept (there are already 1400 seed banks established around the world with this same purpose), the Svalbard Global Seed Vault will be the largest repository. Norway is footing the entire $4.8 million project.

For more information:The Svalbard Global Seed Vault

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