svalbard global seed vault.

It’s been evident to me for quite some time now that Scandinavia will eventually save the world from a self-imposed doom. For proof, look no further than the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.


Officially up and running as of February 26, 2008, the vault is built into the permafrost of Spitsbergen Island in the very remote arctic Svalbard Archipelago (we’re talking only 1,120 kilometres from the North Pole remote… like, Santa might work there in the off-season remote…). Even cooler (literally), the vault sits deep inside a 120-metre long reinforced concrete tunnel built into the side of a sandstone mountain, behind two solid steel doors, and remote-controlled by a manned-outpost in Sweden. This shit is on lock down.


You KNOW that Dr. Claw’s secret lair is underneath this thing. But wait! It gets better…


As it’s name implies, the vault can hold up to 2 billion seeds from 4.5 million species from around the world. At the opening ceremony last week, 100 million seeds were placed inside. The seeds are kept in foil packets at -18˚ Celsisus and if undisturbed are expected to be usable for thousand of years. Called a “frozen garden of Eden” by European Commission president José Manuel Barroso, it’s mission is to preserve crop supplies and secure biological diversity. Though most people, myself included, like to think that the seed vault will help us grow bamboo and spelt and other protein-rich grains as we slowly re-populate the planet following some sort of apocalypse, it’s really more likely that it will supply replacement seeds when other gene banks around the world have equipment failures, fires, natural disasters… you know, boring stuff that doesn’t involve a 1000 foot tidal wave rushing towards the Eastern seaboard at the speed of sound.


They’ve covered all their bases with this one. The location was chosen because of it’s almost total lack of tectonic movement and the permafrost conditions pretty much create the ideal refrigerator. The location, 130 metres above sea level, will not flood even if the polar ice-caps melt. All of the seeds are organic and GMO free (despite the fact that it’s just smart, genetically modified seeds are basically sterile… another reason why we shouldn’t be messing with nature) and even if the air-conditioning system fails, now that the vault has reached it’s ideal frozen temperature, it’s estimated it would take 200 years before the temperature would rise enough to harm the seeds.

Though most of the building costs were fronted by the government of Norway, a lot of eyebrows have been raised by some of the other groups with a financial interest in the vault, including The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and US agri-business giant DuPont. Though you could argue that an agricultural company has an inherent interest to preserve seeds, this big-business connection has conspiracy theorists all over the net going off their rockers. The Zeitgeisters are all pretty sure Bill Gates is going to stock all the seeds in the world, poison the rest, and then enslave all of humankind into some kind of nutritional feudal state. If you want to read a more balanced view on the possible evils behind the whole thing, check out this post at the Rasta Seed Project.


  1. Wake up people, people in high places know what’s coming and are preparing for it. Unfortunately only the elite will have a “right” to survive. the rest of us will have to fend for ourselves.


  1. […] This is a cool post about the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.  Sort of a frozen garden of Eden? […]

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