The Earthark Project’s goal is to restore the Earth to as near a perfect condition as possible by preserving seeds for the future.
The Earth needs a backup plan to replenish and restore all of the plants, animals and vital information after they have been lost. The Earthark Project will help restore those things that are lost through global warming or other global problems.
The first goal of this project is to set in motion the simplest possible recovery program and then to build upon that basic backup plan. The Earthark Project can get launched by posting Earthark deposit containers and information at sports retail centers where people are preparing to go on journeys to remote sites such as mountains. At these and other departure points to remote places, like airports and train stations, there could be a container to receive contributions to be taken by travelers to high mountain destinations or other remote spots. If you are going to a spot that is appropriate for long term storage of seeds you simply take some portion of the donated seed packages with you. Appropriate sites would be a mountain range such as the Himalaya mountains, or a cave such as the Salzburg ice caves, or a high desert like the Atacama desert, or Antarctica. The request is to take some packages of seeds from an Earthark deposit box with you and bury them in a provided container in an out of the way place where people could find it even a thousand years from now.
A statement on an Earthark deposit could read:
This is an Earthark container. Please place small samples of seeds and soil in durable water-proof containers, such as those provided, into this Earthark collection container. It’s recommended to collect these samples from unusual locations and desirable to collect new samples from any given spot many times during the year. Wild seeds and other wild organisms found during the coldest months will probably store best because seeds, for example, will be in their dormant state.
Also there are some types of vital information which are currently being discarded which could be invaluable at some time in the distant future. For example, the Encyclopedia Britannica, a wonderful compilation of modern knowledge, is currently being thrown away because people are finding Wikipedia to be a better source. However, in a thousand years the internet may be gone and a good paper copy of our modern knowledge would be much appreciated. If it were well packaged the paper will easily last a thousand years in cold storage. The total weight of that Encyclopedia is too much for one person to pack but if a note were left as to where the previous volumes were stored the entire encyclopedia could after several trips eventually be reunited at a storage site instead of being discarded and mulched into grocery bags which is their present fate.
For any individual it is very simple. If you are departing for a location such as a mountain top where there is natural cold storage take some of the packages currently in this Earthark container to that location or to another Earthark depository that is much closer to a remote destination.
The remote Earthark location should be easy to find and identify. The containers should be buried at a shallow depth in such a way that the contents will never interact with the local environment. When you bury them think in terms of their remaining there for a thousand years. Place a marker that will last on the surface and perhaps an iron nail near the surface to help someone with a metal detector find the Earthark.
In an effort to maintain some records of this totally individual project it is desirable to fill in the log book at each Earthark collection station. There people could label their packages with the collection location when they deposit them and when people take them away they should log the location where they intend to deposit those packages. Because this is very time and location sensitive information it would prove helpful to use the JulianA database system. These time and date markers are easily created by using the Google Earth coordinate mapping system with the latitude-longitude settings option placed on the decimal settings. The original collection points could be tagged individually with their geographic location numbers; the Earthark collection location package could have these numbers printed onto the container and posted above the container; and the destination location could be gotten from a paper map or Google Earth and written into the log book. The data in the log book could be uploaded occasionally to the Earthark.net website or it could be snail mailed to the Earthark central office.
There is an online update and world map with the locations of the Earthark collection points and the already filled deposit sites, with their date of deposit and source of deposit location. There would be a paper map of all of the Earthark sites located at the deposit points which could be carried up to the remote Earthark sites with each new package. If in the remote future someone finds a single Earthark they will have a good idea where to find many more of them. It will require considerable effort to get to any of them but that makes it more likely that those remote Eartharks will remain undisturbed until they are desperately needed.
The second and more difficult phase of the Earthark project is to create a more durable permanent Earthark by placing some large shipping containers, like those seen on long haul trucks, sometimes called isotainers, in very, very remote locations like the mountains in the center of Antarctica. These mountains are so remote they didn’t even have names on highly detailed maps at the UC Berkeley map room. They are even more remote and colder than the South Pole station and may never have been climbed by humans. The reported subsurface temperature, from satellite sensing, is minus 60°C which is much colder than standard deep freeze.
That central Antarctica Earthark will require considerable outside funding because even after an isotainer is filled with appropriate materials and taken to McMurdo Station in Antarctica it is a very long trip out to the intended destination. There are some other good sites which will be easier to get to and eventually they all should have an Earthark isotainer.