In the world today across the globe there are more than 1,700 genebanks holding vast collections of food crops for safekeeping. Each have been established to ensure safeguards are in place against accidental loss of crop diversity in the event of a natural catasphroe, war and also avoidable disasters, such as lack of funding or poor management. Yet, many of these genebanks (built a long time ago) are actually vulnerable to the elements.

This is why the Svalbard Global Seed Vault was built! It is arguably one of the worlds most important and secure facilities. Situated in a bunker in the remote Arctic Svalbard archipelago, about 1,300 kilometres from the North Pole on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen. The furthest point North you are able to reach on a scheduled flight.

Supported by every nation on earth, it is home to over 900,000 species. It is both impressive and incredibly necessary as it exists to sustain humankind in the event something destructive happens to our enviromert, such as climate change or nuclear war and to ensure we can replenish what might be lost.

The vault’s remote location tucked away deep inside 120 metres (400 feet) of rock was chosen because the area exists free of volcanoes and earthquakes. And conveniently, the permafrost keeps the seeds in deep-freeze.

That is however until recently. Despite this building being almost impenetrable and built for the ‘end of times’ in 2016 it suffered minor flooding as the permafrost surrounding the facility designed to help maintin low temperatures melted due to an unforseen temperature spikes. Luckily no seeds were damaged thanks to the design of the vault the water flooded water froze.

The Norwegian government have agreed to spend $10 million on upgrading the facility to contruct a concrete-built access tunnel, as well as a service building to house emergency power and refrigerating units and other electrical equipment that emits heat through the tunnel”.

Even with the upgrade the faiclity will need to constantly adapt to shifiting climate conditions in order to ensure the facility remains secure for future generations.

Lets keep our fingers crossed and hope there is never a need to use the seeds in the vault.