Climate / Earth Science / Science

Not-so-permafrost

I’ve covered climate change a little here before, but this is one of those pieces of news that just might help to bring it home.

In the Arctic, there’s a vault set up — a seed bank, holding seeds which could help to restore the Earth’s genetic diversity of crops if disaster really strikes. I’m pretty sure they thought about climate change when they did this, among the other disasters that it could potentially help the world recover from (presumably with human help). It was meant to ensure humanity’s food supply forever.

Entrance to the Global Seed Vault in the Arctic. Photo credit: John Mcconnico/AP

It’s sited on permafrost, 1,300km (over 800 miles) beyond the Arctic Circle. It’s meant to be impregnable.

But, due to the warm weather, the permafrost has melted.

The clue is in the name. Permafrost. This should not be happening. The vault was set up in 2008, and they thought it would be totally safe. Just nine years later…

The seeds are all fine, according to the people in charge of the vault, but this is concerning. This is no time to be rolling back climate protections or getting all gung-ho about fossil fuels, and this is just one more proof of that.

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