Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Sustainability Update 9-4-07: Beyond Business Continuity -- the Doomsday Vault & the Lunar Ark

Image: Frida Kahlo, Love Embrace of the Universe

Sustainability Update 9-4-07: Beyond Business Continuity -- the Doomsday Vault & the Lunar Ark

Many business and government leaders live in denial even about continuity, crisis management and recovery for their own little worlds. I have seen it up close and personal. That's why it is so encouraging that some people are thinking big, and outside the box. Here are two inspiring stories of contingency planning on a planetary scale. Projects such as the Doomsday Vault and the Lunar Ark are not only psychologically and spiritually important; they are important in practical terms, from a global and transhistorical perspective. Of course, our primary objective must be to ensure that these resources are never needed. -- Richard Power

Carved into the permafrost of a remote Arctic mountain, a "doomsday vault" housing samples of the world's most important seeds is taking shape to provide mankind with a Noah's Ark of food in the event of a global catastrophe.
At the end of a narrow gravel road in Norway's Arctic archipelago of Svalbard where, ironically, no crops grow, construction workers are toiling away on the top-security seed vault with six months to go before it opens.
An enormous freezer measuring 5,200 cubic metres, the vault will preserve some 4.5 million batches of seeds from all known varieties of the planet's food crops.
The hope is the vault will make it possible to re-establish crops obliterated by major disasters.
"It's a cheap insurance policy," says Cary Fowler, executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, the project's mastermind. ...
Protected by high walls and fortified concrete, an armoured door, a sensory alarm and the native polar bears that roam the region, the "doomsday vault" is being built 130 metres above current sea level - high enough that it would not flood if the Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets melt entirely due to global warming. ...
The Norwegian archipelago, which is politically stable and distant from any seismic activity, was selected for its remote location "away from natural disasters, wars, civil strife and a lot of the kind of craziness that goes on in the world today," Fowler said.
Agence France Press, 8-31-07

A group called the Alliance to Rescue Civilization (ARC), has proposed building a lunar "ark" for use in recovering civilization in the wake of an asteroid strike or nuclear war. The idea is sort of like the Global Crop Diversity Trust's Doomsday Vault, mixed with the Internet Archive, but on the moon.
"In the event of a global catastrophe, the ARC facilities will be prepared to reintroduce lost technology, art, history, crops, livestock, and, if necessary, even human beings to the Earth," Shapiro said. ARC hopes to finance the planned moon outpost into a lunar ark of recovery in part through donations from billionaire philanthropists.
I'm divided as to whether a lunar back-up is worth the cost, in comparison to what that amount of money could do to prevent on-going problems here on Earth. After all, much is being lost even without a single meteor impact, from biodiversity to unique cultural expressions. ... But that doesn't mean we shouldn't do it at all. Indeed, in some weird way if would be an enormous relief to look up at the moon on clear nights and know that in a cold, hard universe, we had a little safety net.
Alex Stevens, WorldChanging.com, 8-18-07


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Sustainability Update 8-14-07: Water, Water

Sustainability Update 7-29-07: Geopolitics & Sustainability have Taken Over Your Future -- Whether You Choose to Acknowledge It or Not

GS(3) Thunderbolt 7-19-07: In Darfur and Japan -- The Earth is Singing A Promise & A Warning, But Who is Listening?

Hard Rain Journal 4-19-07: Sustainability Update -- Simple Truths

Hard Rain Journal 1-13-07: UN Millennium Goals and Sustainability Update -- Does Burkina-Faso Offer a Glimpse into Our Urban Future?

Hard Rain Journal 11-10-06: Sustainability and Climate Change Update -- Water, Its Unhealthiness and Its Increasing Scarcity, Demands Urgent Attention

Hard Rain Journal 9-29-06: Sustainability Update -- Freedom to Flourish and Water to Survive, Both are Vanishing...What Will You Do?

Hard Rain Journal 9-18-06: Update on Sustainability -- There is Peril Ahead, Whether Water is Privatized, Militarized or Simply Ignored for Too Long

Hard Rain Journal 8-18-06: Water, Water Nowhere, & Only A Few Drops to Sell --- An Update on the Water Aspect of the Global Sustainability Crisis

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