In the arctic, there is a vault 500 feet into a mountain that house hundreds of thousands of seeds in case of a catastrophic human event, or natural disaster, which threatens the biodiversity of the planet. It’s our saving account against starvation. National Public Radio reported last week that the first withdrawal was made due to the brutal war in Syria:
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, built in 2008, stores more than 850,000 seed samples from nations all over the world. Extending nearly 500 feet into the mountain, it's intended to safeguard the planet's food supply and biodiversity in the event a doomsday catastrophe like nuclear war or crippling disease wipes out varieties of plants.
…Less than 10 years after the opening, officials are preparing to withdraw seeds for the first time. What apocalyptic event prompted the removal of some of humanity's food backups?
The Syrian civil war.
"We did not expect a retrieval this early," Crop Trust spokesman Brian Lainoff told NPR. "But [we] knew in 2008 that Syria was in for an interesting couple of years. This is why we urged them to deposit so early on."
The conflict has killed over 300,000 people, with 12.2 million needing immediate life-saving care, according to CNN.