Svalbard Global Seed Vault with a glittering facade designed by artist Dyveke Sanne, Svalbard, Norway
© Pal Hermansen/Minden Picture
Even nature needs a backup plan…
This glittering concrete monolith is a lot like that still-sealed emergency survival kit languishing in your basement since 1999: Reassuring to have around, but a bummer when you actually have to use it. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault—better known by its cute nickname, the 'Doomsday Vault'—was established on this far-northern Norwegian isle in 2008 to archive frozen genetic copies of seeds already housed in seed banks around the world: a backup of all the backups. Kept at minus 0.4 degrees F within the seed vault, precious botanicals from food to fibers to flowers are safe from disasters, even of the apocalyptic variety. Lucky us: It'll take a healthy diet of veggies to fight off the zombies.
But hey, doomsday can wait. Today is Seed Swap Day, an event encouraging horticulture buffs to propagate positivity by trading their favorite species and strains. So, no matter how green your thumb, try to get your hands on some new seeds today—let's plant a future where this Arctic chamber can stay good and sealed.