Known as the "doomsday vault," the Global Seed Vault on the archipelago of Svalbard, Norway, is built to protect the world’s seed diversity from natural disasters and warfare. We talked to its mastermind, Cary Fowler, who is in the strange position of hoping his life's work is never used.Continue reading
Why you should listen
Tucked away under the snows of the Arctic Circle is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. Sometimes called the doomsday vault, it's nothing less than a backup of the world's biological diversity in a horticultural world fast becoming homogenous in the wake of a flood of genetically identical GMOs.
For Cary Fowler, a self-described Tennessee farm boy, this vault is the fulfillment of a long fight against shortsighted governments, big business and potential disaster. Inside the seed vault, Fowler and his team work on preserving wheat, rice and hundreds of other crops that have nurtured humanity since our ancestors began tending crops -- and ensuring that the world's food supply has the diversity needed to stand against the omnipresent threats of disease, climate change and famine.
What others say
“For individual crop varieties, doomsday does come every day. We want to put an end to that.” — Cary Fowler, Washington Post
Cary Fowler’s TED talk
More news and ideas from Cary Fowler
Vive les nerds! While the term used to be something of a put-down, meant to mock an excessive interest in math or science, it’s now often used in an almost prideful way to signify a passion for pretty much anything. And that applies to pretty much all of those who end up on the TED […]Continue reading
Before Cary Fowler’s TEDTalk posted on Monday, the TEDBlog caught up with him in Norway, via phone. We asked the difficult questions and he provided calm, leveled answers on the food crises of today. He’s taken on a challenging role, as director of the largest seed bank in the world and the Global Crop Diversity […]Continue reading