The vault was founded in 2008 as a collaboration between the Norwegian government (Svalbard is technically part of Norway) and the Crop Trust, an international nonprofit which aims to preserve biodiversity to protect global food security. The vault cost about 10 million to build, and was funded primarily by the Trust and the various contributors to it (such as the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation).
The Svalbard Seed Vault is a secure vault designed to store seeds from all major crops around the world in a place that will keep them safe, even in the midst of global crises or wars. The idea is that humanity always has a place to restart its food crops from, no matter what happens.
It is believed that the above factors mean that, even in the absence of any human activity whatsoever, the vault could keeps most seeds biologically capable for hundreds or, in some cases, thousands of years.
The Svalbard seed vault was built to protect the seeds inside even in the case of major international disasters. It is built inside of a sandstone mountain on Spitsbergen island, which was chosen for a few reasons. First, Spitsbergen island has very little tectonic activity. Second, island has permafrost, meaning that even if the facility lost all electricity for extended periods of time, the seeds inside the vault (which goes 120 meters into the mountain) would remain at approximately -3 degrees celsius, which is the temperature of the surrounding permafrost. Third, the mountain is high enough that even if the polar ice caps completely melted, the vault would still be above sea level.
950,000 samples stored out of its 4.5 million sample capacity. The current set of seeds stored in the vault represent about one third of all genus stored in seed vaults worldwide.
Broom-corn. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Storage box and seed pouches for vault. Photo: Nordgen
The main types of seeds in the vault
Even before the civil war, Syria had been suffering a damaging drought that had driven many farmers off the land and into the cities. With war further exacerbating the threat to food and animal feed supplies in a region heavily exposed to food insecurity. The vault has now truly proven its worth in a real-life situation.
There are 76 different institutions who have placed seeds in the vault. Some are national-level organizations, but many if not most gather from multiple countries. 37 gather seeds from more than one continent, and one – the Centre for Genetic Resources, the Netherlands – actually gathers from all 7 continents including Antarctica (or as mentioned before, a near-Antarctic island).
Common Wheat. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Advances in technology always bring innovations over time. And those changes come from everybody, even a worldwide manufacturing titan like Yamaha. Last year, the Japanese firm known for its long history of audio components and speakers became the latest company to incorporate smart speaker technology into its products. That led to the unveiling of the… READ THE REST
Svalbard seed vault
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But there’s more to be amazed about with this crazy Norwegian hidey-hole! It contains tons of beautiful magical cannabis seeds, because cannabis is an important plant that humans have used for everything from medicine to food to architecture to fashion to–well, getting high–for many thousands of years.
Yesterday, in Wilson County, Tennessee, Spencer Alan Boston, 20, was in court on a marijuana possession charge. Facing the judge, Boston made a comment supporting marijuana legalization, pulled a joint from his pocket, lit it, and took a puff. From News Channel 5: “One of the craziest things I’ve seen,” says (Wilson County sheriff Robert)… READ THE REST
While recreational marijuana was legalized in Illinois on January 1, it is still illegal under federal law. So just a few weeks back, authorities installed “Cannabis Amnesty Boxes” at Chicago airports for travelers to drop their grass before flying. But last week, someone arriving at Chicago’s Midway helped themselves to the stash. From the New… READ THE REST
Location, location, location.