A few weeks ago, we talked about the future of food and what you can do about it. With the rise of genetic modification and its threat to biodiversity, saving seeds is more important now than it has ever been. Not only do we need plants for food, we rely on them for everything from clothing to medicines to the air we breathe. We couldn’t live without plants, and the Kew Milennium Seed Bank is working to archive 10% of the world’s most threatened flora by 2010.
Ten percent may not sound like much, but it’s actually a huge undertaking. The project costs around £10 million per year to stay up and running, and they’ve saved over three billion seeds since they launched. The seed bank is currently having a hard time getting sufficient funds because of tough economic times and the London Olympics. They’ve received a £2 million bailout from the British government, but the Millennium Seed Bank needs more support. If you’re able, you can help out the Seed Bank by making a donation.
To learn a little more about the seed bank, what they do, and why it’s so important, check out this amazing TED Talk from Jonathon Drori:
The Millennium Seed Bank has partners all over the world that are collecting and preserving native species of plants. According to their website:
There are over 270,000 plant species on this planet. One quarter of those plants now face the threat of extinction. Our mission is to protect the seeds of as many of those plants as possible. Working with 100 partner organisations in 50 countries, we are aiming to improve the quality and quantity of seed conservation. Time is of the essence. Right now, local experts such as botanists and conservationists are hard at work targeting species which urgently need saving.
The Millennium Seed Bank isn’t the only one working to preserve the plant world’s biodiversity. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault in the Arctic Circle has been saving food plant seeds since 2008. St. Petersburg is home to the very first seed bank: NI Vavilov Institute of Plant Industry, which has been studying and archiving seeds since 1894.
Creative Commons photo by flawka