The Svalbard Global Seed Bank

The world is a great place to live in.  Although it isn’t perfect, there are many wonderful initiatives out there created by people who strive to do good for society, for mankind, for this earth.  If only there were more initiatives out there.  On the iPad Alex had downloaded the National Geographic Magazine which has such a wonderful application that I could not stop reading and interacting with it.   One article that really struck me and one that reminded me of a documentary I had watched before, pertained to Svalbard’s Global Seed Bank.

What is it?  Why do we need a seed bank? What kind of seeds do they hold? You mean seeds, as it those from plants?

The Svalbard Global Seed Bank has a mission to be a safety net for the world’s accidental
lost of diversity in traditional genebanks.  Put simply, it is a place where samples of plant seeds sent from all over the world are stored for safekeeping.  A specially designed vault was built into a sandstone mountain in Norway’s Svalbard.  Here, it is safe from earthquakes and its permafrost (where earth is below freezing) ensure that the seeds are kept in a cool environment which aids their preservation. Even if the ice caps were to melt, at Svalbard the seedbank will not be flooded.

I feel like I’m reading a science fiction novel or watching a movie, but no, this is real.  This is a real initiative and since 2008 it has been storing our planets seeds.  I read that now there are over a million distinct varieties.  The vault has a capacity for 4.5 million varieties.

It is important that we have such a seed bank because modern day agricultural farming now aims to feed the billions of beings that inhabit this earth.  Every year, the number is rising and it is estimated that the world’s population will reach 9 billion.  That’s a lot of mouths to feed.  As a result, farms opt instead for plants or crops that produce faster and in line with what markets want.  These crops, as a result, are usually weaker and unable to withstand unexpected pests.  As a result, farmers are increasingly reliant on pesticides and fertilizers.  Traditional agricultural crops are pushed aside.

If anything were to accidently happen to these crops, we may need some to revert back to our traditional agricultural crops.  Without seeds, this would be an impossibility.  With the seeds available at the Svalbard Global Seed Bank, this ensures that we would not have to worry about not having the traditional seeds to revert back to.  Whatever happens, there will be seeds to help sustain life on Earth.  Seeds that will ensure we continue to have agricultural diversity.

It’s absolutely incredible what we are all capable of doing if we put our minds into it.  I admire the people behind the Global Seed Bank.  It’s really an initiative for everyone.  An initiative for our planet.  Who knows what will happen? Do you?

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