The Global Seed Vault, located inside a mountain on the Norweigan island of Spitsbergen near the North Pole, is designed to protect the world’s seeds from any disaster and to ensure the continuation of the world’s food supply. What is alarming is that the supposedly ‘failsafe’ vault was breached after the permafrost that protects the vault melted.
Hege Njaa Aschim, from the Norwegian government, which owns the vault, said that they did not expect that the rise in temperature would cause the ice outside to melt and that heavy rains would be able to enter the tunnel. Luckily, the vault itself wasn’t breached. The seeds are unharmed.
The vault’s managers are monitoring the safe as well as the weather, and whether it is continuous rise will affect the environment that surrounds the vault. Ketil Isaksen, from Norway’s Meteorological Institute, is surprised at how fast the warming rate is. The team continues to improve safety precautions surrounding the vault to avoid disaster. They are developing a 100m-long waterproof tunnel and they’re also digging trenches to direct meltwater and rain away from the vault to avoid flooding. According to Aschim, they are looking at all ways to protect the vault for the world.
If the ‘indestructible’ vault that’s supposed to withstand eternity, said Asmund Asdal of the Nordic Genetic Resource Centre, is now vulnerable because of climate change, what more can happen in the years to come if we won’t take a stand and do our part?