As people, we ask ourselves a certain set of questions so often that their answers start popping up without much active thought. What am I going to wear to work today? What’s the weather going to be like? Have I revamped my survival plan in the case of a global cataclysmic apocalypse event lately? The usual.
It’s probably crossed your mind at one point or another; what would the world do if, or when, the wheels finally fall off? Keep in mind that the level of analysis and actual planning you might do for this scenario varies greatly. That depends on the person and how much free time they have.
Surprisingly enough, many scientists have given some serious thought to scenarios like these.
To learn more we journey north. 1,300 kilometers past the Arctic Circle to be precise. Here, at the world’s end, the bitter quiet guides you. Our answers lie in this barren wasteland coated in shimmering, sparkling shades of white. Here, the boundary between sky and Earth fuse with no distinction; there lies no discernible horizon, just space, time, and the hollow void of empty cold.
Ironically, one of the most unforgiving climates this planet can display holds the keys to life, as we know it, and the answers to some of our biggest concerns might be smaller than you might think.
Welcome to your doomsday … vault?
Cheery nickname aside, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is the final destination in our contingency plan for a worldwide crisis. Opened in February of 2008, the vault is a secure seed bank located on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen (about 810 miles from the North Pole). Conservationists, in tandem with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) started the vault in order to safeguard a huge variety of plant seeds in the case of a global crisis.
- The vault is buried 120 meters (390 ft.) within a sandstone mountain on Spitsbergen Island.
- The vault is 130 meters (430 ft.) above sea level to keep the site dry even if the ice caps melt.
- The facility is managed by the Nordic Genetic Resource Center, but there are no permanent staff on-site.
- A feasibility study prior to the vault’s construction determined that the vault could preserve most major food crops’ seeds for hundreds of years.
As solid as the structure is, it’s far from indestructible. Recently, the vault’s integrity was compromised and climate change might be to blame as temperatures continue to rise. Much of the surrounding ice and permafrost (soil, rock or sediment that is frozen for more than two consecutive years) has melted and it started barreling into the entrance tunnel.
The vault is now fine and the seeds are safe, but the recent flooding brings into question issues regarding maintenance and longevity. The facility is unmanned, so it’s critical that any status change with the vault is immediately addressed.
Actsoft has the technology to help monitor and ultimately preserve the vault and its precious contents. As the ice continues to melt, a change from unmanned to manned surveillance might need to occur. Actsoft’s Advanced Wireless Forms can account for the seeds in the vault, ensuring everything is where it should be. Wireless Forms can also help researchers document and report the levels of ice and permafrost surrounding the vault’s exterior. Nordic Genetic Research Center employees could take pictures of the site and send them back to research centers to keep everyone aware of the vault’s status.
Preparation is vital as the landscape of our planet changes over time. By leveraging Actsoft’s Wireless Forms technology, we can help ensure some of the world’s most precious commodities are safe and preserved.
Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?