A Modern Ark
As our species begin to fully realize the drastic change we are causing to our planet, certain individuals and organizations are taking steps to ensure the survival of other organisms. As we have rapidly spread over this world we have wreaked havoc on existing ecosystems. Plant species and animal species have been dying off for hundreds of years due to our influence and negligence.
A loss of plant and animal diversity could be devastating for the overall health of life on our planet. As genetic modification becomes more commonplace in food stocks the preservation of unmodified DNA is that much more valuable.
The Frozen Ark Project, started in 2004 by Nottingham University, the Zoological society of London and the Natural History Museum aims to preserve the DNA of the world’s animal species. Currently containing samples from more than 5,500 unique species, The Frozen Ark holds DNA from a small fraction of animal species.
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a similar initiative to the Frozen Ark, but built to preserve the world’s plant species. Construction began in 2007 on the Norwegian island of Svalbard, but the project traces its origins to the Nordic Genetic Resource Center, of 1983. The purpose of the vault is to store “backups” of local and native seeds from around the world, often developing locales in particular. Should a disaster strike, the seed vault should be able to provide native seeds to that particular area.
While saving what species we can, from our self-driven planet destruction, may seem like a wonderful, useful and necessary step. Would it not be easier to simply end the destruction? As a species we must be continually mindful of the damage we do to ecosystems as we spread like weeds across this planet.