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Norway opening Global Seed Vault at Svalbard

posted on 29th February 2008 under Habits, Winter

I sometimes say: Since this is a blog about Norway, it would have been a disgrace not to mention..… This time it’s an historical moment for mankind: Tuesday 26th of February, the Prime Minister of Norway, Jens Stoltenberg opened Svalbard Global Seed Vault. As usual, I’ll do it my way, but lets start with the vault:

The world’s seed collections are vulnerable to a wide range of threats – civil strife, war, natural catastrophes, and more routinely but no less damagingly, poor management, lack of adequate funding, and equipment failures. Unique varieties of our most important crops are lost whenever any such disaster strikes, and therefore securing duplicates of all collections in a global facility provides an insurance policy for the world’s food supply.

The Vault is an answer to a call from the international community to provide the best possible assurance of safety for the world’s crop diversity. It’s being dug into a mountainside near the village of Longyearbyen at Svalbard: A group of islands nearly a thousand kilometres north of mainland Norway. Remote by any standards, Svalbard’s airport is in fact the northernmost point in the world to be serviced by scheduled flights – usually one a day. For nearly four months a year the islands are enveloped in total darkness. It is here that the Norwegian government has built the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, to provide this ultimate safety net for the world’s seeds.

Btw: Click to read my wife’s post about the event and our friends Mark’s and A.!

Then to my personal touch, since I was at Svalbard in April 8 years ago and saw this from the plane before we landed:

Norway, Svalbard

This was a once of a lifetime experience. The landscape is breath taking and has a unique geology. Ancient rock formations are easily seen in the characteristic stripes and layers of the mountains. The rich deposits of coal — fossilised plants — reveal that millions of years ago Svalbard was found far to the south. Intact fossils of tropical leaves, flowers and sea animals, which are several hundred million years old, are still commonly found in Svalbard (in the middle of the Arctic Ocean).

To give you a glance, let me show you a picture from the airport and the entrance of The Longyear City (click the pics if you like a larger view):
Norway, Svalbard Norway, Svalbard

The most unforgettable event of my stay was a one day scooter safari in The Advent Valley and deepest in we saw this glacier: “Dee Geer”, a more than 5 million year old mountain of blue ice:

Norway, Svalbard
RennyBA with the red top in the middle :-)

I could have go on for a long time, but since pics says more than a thousand words, let me end this special adventure by sharing a collection of pics from my stay and the safari. We did not see any polar bears, but some seals who also kept holes in the ice for a speedy escape…in pics #9, 12, 13 and 14:



I hope to go back there one day – anyone wanna join me?

26 Responses to “Norway opening Global Seed Vault at Svalbard”

  1. c esterly says:

    Please never, never, ever allow evil corporations such as Monsanto, Du Pont, Adventis to force you into keeping GMO Seeds. Mankind doesn’t want and is already frightened at the future genetic damage that has been done to us here in USA….could take years for all of the deformities, illinesses to show up.
    Formally opt these evil, illuminati companies out of the Vault and the meetings as well. Protect your future Norwegians as well as the rest of mankind (earthlings).
    Thank you for your time in reading this.
    xo Appreciate what you are doing.

  2. Sofie says:

    Hi Renny!
    Wow, your Svalbard Safari experience was really great!

    Have a great weekend!

    RennyBA
    Glad you liked it – wishing you a good one too!

  3. carlotta says:

    Such amazing photos of Svalbard. I feel a little bit chilled just looking at all that snow and ice. =) that blue ice is especially interesting :)

    RennyBA
    Glad you liked it too, but don’t feel chilled – its great if you just know how to dress for the Arctic :)

  4. Carrie says:

    Wow! That’s pretty amazing. I love your photos and the sense of adventure. I also love that someone is creating the Global Seed Bank.

    RennyBA
    Hi Carrie, good to see you! Glad you liked it and the idea too!

  5. Brrrr! Looks cold! We’ve got lots and lots of snow for you, both in Toronto and in Halifax!

    RennyBA
    Not if you have proper clothes you know!
    I know – have seen your snowy posts – I envy you, you know!

  6. DianeCA says:

    I want everybody to go back and look again because here you see RennyBA without his beard LOL!! I sure hope we can take the tour together sometime, its a one of a kind experience!

    RennyBA
    :lol: dear, you might be the only one noticing :D
    I do hope so too dear – it’ll double the fun and a great thing to experience it together with you!

  7. such great pictures of the ice desert. never been to an ice world except ice carving contests here. heard about this seed preservation project on tv. great endeavour

    RennyBA
    Glad you liked it too – coming from Philippines, I do understand but your ice carving contests are great!

  8. claudie says:

    I red Diane’s post about this night I made a mistake thinking you were the 26th there!!! Ha! ha! This morning my ideas are cleaner after sleeping! This is a fabulous project your land concretized for humanity! If only all lands around the planet could have the same direction! Peace and planet’s protection! This is the only way for our future, for our children.
    This polar safari was super! the photos fabulous. I’d like to live a such experience. Our world is so beautiful and particularly this place!

    RennyBA
    Yea, it’s easy to mix up – glad you came back anyway then!
    Its a world wide project you know, so every continents and countries can donate to save the future of our natural resources.
    Glad you like the safari trip too and I do agree: Its a wonderful world!

  9. Desert Diva says:

    I had no idea that there was something as a “seed vault.” I can see how this would be a necessary precaution in this time to insure future crop prorogation in the event of a disaster. Thanks for sharing!

    RennyBA
    Glad I could inform you then and of course its always good to have in case of an emergency.

  10. SwordMama says:

    The glacier is so gorgeous and the rest of your pictures! I can only imagine how clean it must be up there. Thanks for sharing! I’m gonna add this to my delicious bookmarks. :)

    RennyBA
    Glad you liked it and yea, it was fresh and crispy :)

  11. Stanley says:

    Yeah….it was featured in my local paper. Read that there were LOTS of seeds in it :)

    RennyBA
    Good you’ve noticed it too – the most seed collection in the world I guess :)

  12. Tinsie says:

    This definitely looks like a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The pictures are stunning!

    RennyBA
    Yea, and I’m glad this seed vault opening reminded me of this adventures :D

  13. A. says:

    How wonderful to have been there, and such beautiful pictures! I’ve added a link to this from my “Back up bananas” post :)

    RennyBA
    Thanks for your compliments and add – I’ve updated mine too :)

  14. kyh says:

    I feel chilled looking at those icy caps and icebergs! Stunning works of Mother Nature… and Norway is blessed to own a territorial access in the Arctic!

    RennyBA
    I do understand coming from your part of the world – saw you last post – quite different from the Arctic – it was a great read!

  15. Deborah says:

    Stunning scenery, Renny! I’m amazed that you were there!

    RennyBA
    Glad you liked them Deb – a life time experience you know!

  16. TorAa says:

    With you as a Guide and proper equipment, Yes of course, I’m joining.

    Great photos.
    And a surprise:
    http://travellingspouse.blogspot.com/2008/02/back-up-bananas.html

    have a great wekend all of U
    hugs, Tor and Anna
    ps. I have been in my bunker all day, due to Leap Year day. LOL

    btw. Almost a week ago since Mariestad :D

    RennyBA
    I’ll gladly guide you and like I’ve said before: How about a bloggers meeting at Svalbard !?!
    I saw A.’s posts which was great too!
    Wishing you both a good one too and remember, it’s not that long before we are back in our vacation paradise :D

  17. Zhu says:

    I read your wife’s post yesterday and I couldn’t believe you were here. Wow, must have been quite an adventure! I envy you ;-)

    As I said, it’s a great idea but sad at the same time… that we have to put things away so that we don’t destroy them!

    RennyBA
    It was a very special journey and experience ;-)
    I do agree, but that’s how it is and now we at least have a kind of an insurance for what stupid things people can do.

  18. Ladybug says:

    I had heard about the seed vault the other day . . . simply fascinating.
    Your pictures are stunning, Renny. What a spectacular place. Wishing you a great weekend, my friend! xxoo

    RennyBA
    Thanks for your compliments – coming from a photographer like you its a great honour!
    Wishing you a good one too!

  19. Diane J. says:

    I had read about the seed vault some time back — in National Geographic, I believe. Then I saw the piece about the opening of the vault on our national news a few days ago. I sincerely hope it’s never needed, but it’s good to know it’s there if something dreadful ever happens.

    Have a great weekend, Renny!

    Hugs,
    Diane

    RennyBA
    Yea; this good news has been broadcast all around the globe. I do agree: lets look at it as an insurance we never will have to use.
    Wish you a good one too and a bunch of hugs back to you :-)

  20. Interesting post! Thanks for sharing!

    RennyBA
    Your welcome Teeana, glad you find it interesting too!

  21. Lime says:

    it is both a proud and benevolent moment for Norway. the rest of the world must thank your nation for its foresight.

    RennyBA
    Yea, and for the whole world – all the donors from all over the world is to be thanked you know!

  22. Sandy G. says:

    Hi Renny. Those are great photos and information! I would love to visit there some day.

    I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Thanks for stopping by my site.
    ~Sandy G.

    RennyBA
    Glad you liked it – I want my readers to learn something from my posts you know!
    Me too: how about a bloggers meeting?
    Wish you a good one too :-)

  23. Diane says:

    Count me in – it looks absolutely stunning! Your photographs are amazing. I have been reading about Svalbard and it sounds fascinating….

    I am off to Switzerland for Easter, so hopefully I will get to see some snow then :-)

    RennyBA
    Great and next time I wanna go there in the summer time – bring your bikini :lol:
    Wishing you a great Easter break with lots of snow :-)

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