The EarthArk Project is designed to save as much of the world’s DNA from destruction as possible. That includes wild species of all living things and not just the commercially viable seeds. That is usually all that is stored in the few presently existing seed banks. The EarthArk Project is vastly greater in scope than any of these ventures. It is intended to create a bank of everything living thing possible which means going well beyond storing a few samples or carefully identified seeds. There should be a lot of overshoot and redundancy to make sure everything is preserved.
Getting substantial samples weekly from every square kilometer of Earth for several years and shipping them to a permanent deep-freeze site high in the TransAntarctic mountains is the ultimate goal. Once these samples were stored in various places where permanent temperatures remain below -40°C they would remain viable for a very long time. In the not very distant future many, perhaps most, of currently living species will be extinct. However, after humanity has recovered from its current over-exploitation of Earth’s resources and the resultant destruction of much of what we currently value, if the EarthArk is in place future humanity will be to able to reconstitute and restore much of what we now take for granted.
Complex bio-webs which form an ecological habitat are composed of many visible living things but supporting these obvious things there are hundreds and possibly millions of unknowable interactions which sustain it. Without many unknown and perhaps unknowable living things the habitat would become warped and unstable and certainly not as vibrant as it now is. Therefore, it is desirable to collect not only the obvious seed samples but also substantial soil samples from various depths as well as the surface. This is especially true in places which are presently undergoing habitat destruction because the visible things are a tiny part of the total habitat. Getting samples right away is already beyond doing and many things are no-doubt lost forever. This challenge grows to a very large size when fully implemented but even a small start will be meaningful.
We needn’t pine too much over the losses which we can do nothing to correct but rather do what we can to collect and send to the EarthArk what is still available. We should collect from everywhere because even common things can and will vanish quickly when some forseeable man-made disaster strikes. There are many, such as a major war, and it is disturbing to think about them but let’s do what we can to ameliorate the effects of potential disasters in a way which will permit a recovery.
Some of the habitat which could most easily be stored in the EarthArk requires transportation from the Northern Hemisphere to the highlands of Antarctica. If this were done with shipping containers on ocean-going ships it would require months of reliable sub-freezing refrigeration during the long surface voyage. These seeds might be forced to endure a high temperature while crossing the equator which would cause the seeds to germinate and thus ruin them for long-term storage.
A solution for this problem would be to have a large airplane dedicated to transporting seeds from winter airports in the Northern Hemisphere all the way to a base high in Antarctica. A big jet with insulated sides could be flown at high altitude, where it is quite cold, all the way from the north to the south. It could be done with inflight refueling or perhaps it would be easier to schedule a landing for fuel at night along the way. If that didn’t take too long there wouldn’t be a problem heating the seeds. Obviously a large jet airplane is expensive to own and operate but they are readily available. An old C-130 turboprop would serve quite well as they have had plenty of experience with ski landings on snow and could go directly to an EarthArk location. With a load of 45,000 pounds range of up to 2,000 miles it would require five refuelings.
The photo is from Peter Cheimet’s South Pole Journal. Any solid container buried in the ice here would store seeds for 10,000 years but it would sink into the ice and slowly move away. That could be tracked and the containers relocated but a more stable location would probably be on the exposed rock side of Mt. Tyree (-78.414, -86.00) near Mt. Vinson in the TransAntarctic mountains.
[or Queen Alexandra range lat/lon -83.988, 166.611 at 13,500 feet with a runway nearby. Or lat/lon -86.286, -158.00, at 12,900 feet]
All of the these things needed to create an EarthArk are easily done with the right men, equipment, money and provisions and it desperately needs to be done while we have the opportunity.
Some of the previous posts for – The EarthArk Project
- The Earthark Project will restore the Earth.
- Give people of the future what they need to survive.
- Caffe Mediterraneum is the first EarthArk drop site.
- The first EarthArk is being prepared for Antarctica.
- Earthark Project suitcase and poster at the Caffe Mediterraneum
- Earthark Project – Sample Index Page
- The EarthArk Project Goals
- Preparations for a basic EarthArk