The Botany of Scarcity
The crops that feed the world are on a collision
course with climate change, water, energy con-
straints and expanding populations. A perfect
storm is brewing.
Global Crop Diversity Trust
Teams of scientists from all over the globe have gathered here to measure the glaciers, check changes in air temperature and sea levels, and calculate the rising amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. They are working out models and predictions for how much time the world as we know it has left. Meanwhile, outside the human settlements, reindeer roaming on the tundra are getting tangled in discarded measuring instruments, and polar bears are shuffling around looking for food, having been forced ashore by melting ice.
“Svalbard is a place to watch like a hawk,” says journalist Fred Pearce, because of its sensitivity to changing climate conditions and because of the sheer amount of scientific study that goes on here. And, I would add, because this is where the Doomsday Vault is under construction. Plans call for drilling a tunnel deep into the mountainside, ending in two large rooms. Once completed, these rooms will have the capacity to store 3 million seeds,