The technologies of mass agriculture, including genetic engineering, prevented the mass starvation of humanity in the last century. But today most of humanity lives on just 12 plant species and some scientists are worried that a lack of variety may prove our undoing. Some types of banana, for example, have already been wiped out or are threatened (Snopes is more cautious but verifies the basic facts).
To protect our seed patrimony is the goal of the Svalbard International
The high-security vault, almost half the length of a football field, will
be carved into a mountain on a remote island above the Arctic Circle. If the
looming fences, motion detectors and steel air-lock doors are not disincentive
enough for anyone hoping to breach the facility’s concrete interior, the polar
bears roaming outside should help….
Its precious contents? Seeds — millions and millions of them — from
virtually every variety of food on the planet.
Thanks to Carl Close for the pointer.