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Posts Tagged ‘Global Crop Diversity Trust’

My husband is into all things Iceland and Frozen North, which led to his mentioning the other day that an island much farther north than Iceland was “where the seed bank is.”

“What seed bank?” said I, running to Wikipedia.

Wikipedia answered, “The Svalbard Global Seed Vault … is a secure seed bank on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen … 810┬ámi from the North Pole. Conservationist Cary Fowler, in association with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), started the vault to preserve a wide variety of plant seeds that are duplicate samples, or ‘spare’ copies, of seeds held in gene banks worldwide. The seed vault is an attempt to insure against the loss of seeds in other gene banks during large-scale regional or global crises. …

“The Norwegian government entirely funded the vault’s approximately … $9 million construction. Storing seeds in the vault is free to end users, with Norway and the Global Crop Diversity Trust paying for operational costs. …

“Running the length of the facility’s roof and down the front face to the entryway is an illuminated work of art that marks the location of the vault from a distance. In Norway, government-funded construction projects exceeding a certain cost must include artwork. KORO, the Norwegian State agency overseeing art in public spaces, engaged the artist Dyveke Sanne to install lighting that highlights the importance and qualities of Arctic light. The roof and vault entrance are filled with highly reflective stainless steel, mirrors, and prisms. The installation reflects polar light in the summer months, while in the winter, a network of 200 fibre-optic cables gives the piece a muted greenish-turquoise and white light.”

(You’ll forgive me for taking out all the hyperlinks for terms like “Norwegian,” “global crises,” “fibre-optic cables,” and “North Pole.” Wikipedia gets carries away with hyperlinks, but you can read the whole thing here.)

May 19, 2017 update: Uh-oh. The permafrost is melting and the safe house for seeds is starting to flood: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/19/arctic-stronghold-of-worlds-seeds-flooded-after-permafrost-melts.

Photo: NordGen/Dag Terje Filip Endresen
Entrance to Svalbard Global Seed Vault in 2008

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