With plant species disappearing at an alarming rate, scientists and governments are creating a global network of plant banks to store seeds and sprouts, precious genetic resources that may be needed for man to adapt the world’s food supply to climate change.
The Global Seed Vault, on a Norwegian island about 600 miles from the North Pole, received its first million seeds this week.
As of Thursday, thousands of neatly stacked and labeled gray boxes of seeds — peas from Nigeria, corn from Mexico — reside in this glazed cavelike structure, forming a sort of backup hard drive, in case natural disasters or human errors erase the seeds from the outside world.
I am thrilled to see the United States is helping fund this project, even if we are only funding about half as much as Australia -- a country with a population less than 7% of ours.
The vault was built by Norway, and its operations are financed by government and private donations, including $20 million from Britain, $12 million from Australia, $11 million from Germany and $6.5 million from the United States.