svalbard seed vault
Svalbard Global Seed Vault, February 2008

Interesting perspective on how the seed vault idea has failed miserably from Resilience.org

Originally published by From Filmers to Farmers

The sheer sensationalism of doom-laden Internet headlines doled out by journalists raised on Hollywood disaster movies (and now clickbait) recently reared its ugly head again, this time in regards to the venerated Svalbard Global Seed Vault. I’m no fan of what some have misleadingly nicknamed the “Doomsday Seed Vault”, but with journalists narrowly clamouring on about some recent hiccoughs that the Vault experienced, the greater catastrophe that the Vault represents does tend to get obfuscated. Those recent hiccoughs are certainly nothing to scoff at (as I’ll explain), but by missing out on the greater implications they imply the fundamental problems of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault get missed; those being that not only is the Vault not a “Doomsday Seed Vault” but, and as I’ll explain in part 2, that it transforms seed saving into something akin to the art of taxidermy.

To backtrack a bit, in 2003 Cary Fowler – scientist, conservationist, biodiversity activist, and co-author with Pat Mooney of the excellent 1990 book Shattering: Food, Politics, and the Loss of Genetic Diversity – had the idea of creating a storage facility that would provide a backup for the seeds currently stored in the world’s 1,700 genebanks (and then some). While saving and preserving seeds is currently something that the “average” person tragically generally pays little to no mind to, if there’s one thing more crucial and fundamental to our civilization than fossil fuels then that something would be seed saving, a practice which preceded industrial civilization by about 9,800 years or so. That being so, making backups of seeds, and even backups of backups of seeds, might very well be the most wise thing us humans cultivating away on this planet can do.

Unless, that is, one wants to be rather monolithic – perhaps even megalomaniacal – about it all. … (continues)

Advertisements