ON A Norwegian island 1000 kilometres from the North Pole, a consortium of nations is beginning work on a super-safe repository for "the world's most precious asset": its seeds.
When the chilled vault is completely installed in the permafrost and above the tsunami line some time next year, more than 1 million samples of agricultural seed, from apples to Zinfandel grapes, will be brought to the "seed bank of last resort".
It will be fifty metres long and five metres wide, lined with the hardest of prestressed concrete, and is to be bored into the side of a mountain on the island of Spitsbergen above the village of Longyearbyen. It is vertically high enough to survive sea level rise and tsunami, high enough in lattitude for the temperature to remain insulated from heat for "month, even years" should power fail. Dr Cary Fowler, executive director of the Rome-based Global Crop Diversity Trust, which will manage the repository, said the seeds are, "beyond value, and I don't think anyone can imagine realistic solutions to problems like climate change, water shortage or energy shortage without a system of agriculture that can adapt and change."
Learn more about: :::[Global Crop Diversity Trust]
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