In the punishing cold of an Arctic mountain in the remote Svalbard Islands, a doorway leads to what’s meant to be the safest place on earth.
Approaching this isolated and hostile terrain isn’t an easy thing. Yet scientists often carry precious cargo of seeds to store in this safe vault to be kept out of the way of whatever climate change might bring.
The vault has around 6 lines of security before getting inside. The access tunnel is cut into the mountain. It is a hundred and thirty meters above sea level. If the world happens and global warming melts all of the polar ice caps this project will still be safe. It is designed to survive any natural disaster.
The seeds can last here for a very long time. It depends on what crop it is but some of the crops may survive for more than 4,000 years.
Inside the last barrier to the store, it is minus 18 Celcius. The rows of shelves are filling up with seeds from all over the world. There are samples of nearly half of the most important food crops brought here just in case.
Samples of seeds used to be held in glass test tubes. Now they are kept in little plastic packets and there are more than 800,000 of these in this vault. That’s why this safe vault really matters to the world.
There are seeds from Syria plants that are good at cropping with drought and some have just been returned to the Middle East. When harvests are ruined by extremes whether having backup copies of key seeds is essential. Another threat is flooding which can damage national stores of seeds. This happened in the Philippines.
Industrial scale farming most food comes from just a dozen varieties of plants. So keeping different genetic types help to guarantee supplies.
It is for the survival of the mankind in the futureProf. Roland von Bothmer – Former seed vault director
In these remote mountains, this place is meant to be a safeguard against apocalypse an insurance policy for a warming world.
Video footage: visit youtube