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 monolith of cold metal 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 -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.