The Global Seed Vault – A Future Frozen in Time

Image result for Global Seed VaultWith the effects of climate change becoming a reality, food security has become a growing global concern. And though each country will look for ways to combat the threat to their national security, one movement stands out from the rest. Buried deep in the permafrost mountains on the remote Norwegian island of Svalbard that rests halfway between Norway and the North Pole, is the Global Seed Vault.

The vault is part of a global effort to protect seed diversity and provide a way to restart the world food system in the event of catastrophe or natural disaster. It currently holds close to a half billion seeds from every country in the world. The goal is to store duplicate backups of every major crop from around the globe, in as many varietals as possible. Though many nations have their own seed banks, the Global Seed Vault was created as a way to protect the world food system from the elements of nature and man. The location provides the seed a natural protection, as being buried deep in the mountain makes the vault virtually impenetrable, and also provides a natural backup system should the electronic cooling systems fail. The permafrost keeps the seeds at a sub-zero temperature, ensuring their freshness for centuries if need be. To keep the vault free from political scrutiny, they have made the decision to keep genetically modified seeds free from the conservation efforts. In addition to seed storage, efforts are also made to encourage cross-breeding of seeds from their wild counterparts to adapt the coming changes to the world’s climate.

Though many conspiracy theories have been formed around the vault, there is some comfort in knowing that it exists, in the hopes that it is never needed. And with each contributor in full control of their own seed supply, there runs no risk of power struggle or control over the world food supply. Each nation is responsible for and is the only granted access to their seeds. Though I chose this topic out of interest of learning more about the vault, I found myself even more intrigued by the diminishing of crop diversity and the efforts to combat food security issues that we will undoubtedly face in the future.


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