Deep inside a mountain on the freezing remote Norwegian island archipelago of Svalbard, halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole, is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. A fail-safe, state-of-the-art seed storage facility, built to stand the test of time and all possible natural or man-made disasters. The purpose of the vault is to store frozen duplicates (back ups) of all seed samples from the world’s crop collections, making the vault the ultimate insurance policy for the world’s food supply.
Often called the “Doomsday” Seed Vault, the Svalbard Seed Vault is the world’s insurance policy against botanical disasters, so that food production can be restarted anywhere on the planet following a regional or global catastrophe.
The vault is reached via an access tunnel about 330 feet (100 meters) long, with an entrance portal on its outside.
The entrance portal is the only visible part of the facility.
The entrance is in the form of a long, narrow concrete “fin”, and made with brushed steel.
An artistic decoration on the outer roof surface and on the upper part of the front will partly reflect the polar light and partly give off a muted, glowing light.
The location takes into account all known scenarios for rising sea level caused by possible global climate changes.
The facility has also been located so deep inside the mountain that any changes to Svalbard’s climate will not affect the efficacy of the permafrost, and thus keep the seeds safe.
The facility consists of three separate underground chambers. Each chamber has the capacity to store 1,5 million different seed samples.
Here are just a handful of seeds that the facility holds.
The Seed Vault functions like a safety deposit box in a bank.
The bank owns the building and the depositor owns the contents of his or her box.
In the case of the Seed Vault, Norway owns the facility, having entirely funded it’s $9 million construction.
As far as the seeds go each depositing genebank from nations around the world owns the seeds they send to the Seed Vault for safekeeping.
That vault totally looks like something out of a James Bond movie, and I for one feel very reassured to know it’s there. I want no part of any post-apocalyptic dystopia that does not have whole grains for my much beloved Cheerios.
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