The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen near Longyearbyen. Some call it “Doomsday Vault”, others refer to it as “Noah‘s Ark” of food crops. It is buried inside a former coal mine on Svalbard, a remote Arctic island in a Norwegian archipelago around 1,300 km from the North Pole. The vault was established by the conservationist ‘’Carry Fowler’’. His association was with the consultative group of International Agricultural Research. Its main motto was to preserve a wide variety of plant seeds covering the whole world.
The Seed Vault was opened in 2008 which was designed to withstand a nuclear missile hit. It plays a key role in preserving the world’s genetic diversity. And it’s the home to more than 900000 varieties of seeds. It offers a safety net in case of natural catastrophe, climate change, disease or manmade disasters. Nations like Netherlands, Irelands, Canada, Switzerland; International seed research from Colombia, Mexico, India, Pakistan, and Syria placed their samples into the storage. At present, the vault contains one-third of the world’s most important food crops varieties.
THREAT TO THE SEED VAULT:
But there is a problem which is arising due to global warming. Warm temperature disrupted the environment around the vault. The temperature inside the vault is at -18 c. The permafrost, surrounding the facility will help maintain the low temperature of the seeds, should there be a power failure. But unfortunately, the permafrost which is for its protection, melted in 2016. According to one of the Seed Bank’s Co-ordinator Asmund Asdal, due to the unexpected warmer summer season, the water intruded in the (access) tunnel, which is a major and serious outcome of climate change.
The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet. And Europe is at the moment experiencing a sub-zero cold spell, the North Pole recently registered above zero temperatures, 30 degrees higher than normal. According to the scientists, warm spells like these are occurring with increasing frequency in the Arctic.
The Norway govt. wanted to be sure that the seed vault will be cold throughout the whole year even if, the temperature continues to increase in Svalbard. Therefore, Norway recently announced contributions of 12.5 million dollars to improve the repository in a bid to protect the precious seeds.
Once you enter, it will lead you to a small tunnel-like room filled with the loud buzzing sound of electricity and cooling systems, which is there to keep a consistent temperature within the vault. To reach the end, one has to pass through the wide concrete tunnel illuminated by strip lighting leading 120 meters down into the mountain. At the end of this corridor, there is a chamber, an added layer of security which protects the vaults containing the seeds of varieties of food crops.
All necessary measures are there to take care the Vault from all kinds of possible atrocities and danger. There is a cabin to remove heat sources from the tunnel, near the site to house all the technical materials that can generate heat. It is mainly to prevent a recurrence of melting permafrost.
If you deeply see and think within the bowels of an icy mountain lies a resource of vital importance, which holds the future of humankind. It’s neither coal, oil, gold nor diamond, but seeds.In the time of hatred and increasing geopolitical tensions and uncertainty, the Svalbard vault will act as the only ultimate savior of mankind. It also acts as a symbol of unity because any organization or country can send seeds to it, it is beyond restrictions. Boxes from North Korea sit alongside boxes from the U.S. And, boxes of seeds from Pakistan sit happily with the boxes of seeds from India. As long as they are cold and safe, that’s all that really matters.