Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Doomsday Vault in Norway: Seed Vault & Polar Cities For Survivors
The seed vault in Svaalbord, Norway, in a little town called Longyearbyen (named after US industrialist John Longyear --really, google his name! -- who went mining there long long ago)opens today, February 26, 2008 [or Year 4,000,008 Earth Era if we are keeping time the right way! -- it's hardly year 2008 on Earth!]. My take on the seed vault project is this:
I love it. Great idea, great project, wonderful global PR and public awareness about climate change and global warming. Why? Because for the first time, because of this project's immense news value in print and online, with hundreds of reporters covering the opening ceremony today in Svaalbord, including Becky Anderson of CNN, and print reports in the newspapers worldwide tomorrow about the seed vault, people around the globe will be reading about these special scary terms: climate change, global warming, catastrophe, calamity, possible end of civilization as we know it, and terms and phrases like that. And why is this good? Because the seed vault project, while it's only about SEEDS for now, it is paving the way, in the human mind, to also think about what might happen if global warming gets out of control and sometime in the far distant future, humans must migrate north to live in "sustainable population retreats" (OR, "polar cities" to use another term) to continue the human species, where Lovelock's "breeding pairs" in the Arctic will live to propagate the human species generation after generation, for as long as it takes for the Earth to become habitable again in the middle and central regions.
So the seed vault project is helping people to better grasp the idea of polar cities, as a worst case scenario for humankind. Of course, one hopes we will never need polar cities. I certainly hope not. But .... we might need them, and the goal of the Polar Cities Research Project (Google the term) is to help prepare people worldwide for what might happen in the far distant future. Images such as these:
also help people visualize the unthinkable.
If we need to keep seeds in a special storage vault, then it might be that someday we will need to house humans in special northern population retreats, (polar cities or polar villages or polar retreats -- in Alaska, Canada, Russia, Greenland, and yes, even in Svaalbord, Norway). In fact, one side project of ours is to start a test model polar city in Longyearbyen in the year 2015, with volunteers assembling for the team in 2012. Again, this is not science fiction, and to learn more about the model polar city idea, google the words. Already people have emailed in to sign up.
Preserving seeds is a vital, important idea. Wonderful! And in the future, we might need to draw on some of the same ideas and engineering feats to build polar cities for human beings to live in.
Google ("polar cities" and "model polar city")
NOTA BENE: Jeremy Hawker, at Dot Earth comments, mentions that there should be some mention that Norway has an official, government-funded organisation for art in public places (KORO). It hired conceptual artist Dyveke Sanne to design the outside of the seed vault. She made the small, polished-steel reflectors you can see on the roof, and on the front above the entry. They are in boxes, over 2 meters wide (as wide as the entry) and the roof panels are eleven meters long; they are set under glass and lit with 200 meters of fiber-optic cables. Interesting side note!
Posted by DANIELBLOOM at 12:11 AM