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Why are We Storing Seeds Near the North Pole?

It looks like the back end of a semi truck that crashed head down into a snowy hillside, but it's really the entrance to a world of food not-yet-grown: seeds. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault opened in 2008 to securely store seeds from around the globe. Natural disasters, political instability or a combination of the two plus other factors can cause famine (such as in the Horn of Africa) and threaten individual countries' seed banks. But Svalbard, located about 800 miles from the North Pole, is free from these worries. It allows researchers - and eventually farmers - to access the seeds in case of disasters or accidents . Says Cary Fowler, executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, which helps manage Svalbard:

We have a fairly unique mission. Well, not fairly: it's completely unique. And that is to conserve the diversity of our crops, agricultural crops, forever. It's to figure out a system, install a system, and fund a system for conserving that part of biodiversity in perpetuity.

Watch the video above for more about Svalbard and its importance to the world.

This story is part of our Wednesday ViewChange video series.

 

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