I have been trying to save life on Earth, and that includes the human species, and I thought everyone would consider that a positive goal, with the exception of a few suicidal and genocide-inclined people. My efforts have mostly been thought experiments written up as blog posts, but with the goal of finding workable ways to actually save the Earth’s species. But a new problem has come about because in the last few years it has become technically feasible to directly modify animal and plant DNA directly.
Unfortunately, there may be a category of people who are not insanely depressed or evil that may be hostile to my goals of saving all life forms, because they can make money by controlling these living things. These are the profit-minded people who want to bring all life forms under their personal control, using DNA manipulation techniques, so they can make money. At the moment they claim they seek to control only crop seeds, domesticated animals, and life forms that can create useful drugs. But where does their ambition end? There are presently huge legal struggles to capture patent rights over various parts of Jennifer Doudna’s discovery of CRISPR technology for direct and precise coding of DNA. This technology puts every living thing under direct genetic control by these profit-minded humans. It creates the possibility of creating entirely new categories of living things, perhaps even beyond the Kingdoms of plants, animals, and viruses.
At the other end of the problem of creating new life is the goal of saving as many of the old living species as possible. The continuing loss of current living species through extinction has brought about The EarthArk concept which is designed to save the plants of the world by putting their seeds into permanent deep-freeze containers atop high mountains near the South Pole. Saving animals is more difficult, because they must be kept alive to reproduce to survive through generations. LifeHavens are multipurpose farms that may be scattered around the world with living examples of as many species and families of animals as possible. To maximize genetic diversity these LifeHavens would be saving a large variety of the smallest animals of each family, and thus mice would be preferred over elephants from the family of mammals, and cats over tigers. With members of Families available it might be possible to reconstruct species in the future from cryogenically frozen embryos, eggs and sperm from a species of that Family. These procedures would be difficult or possibly impossible, but the current unstoppable trends are headed for the extinction of many living things from which there will be no recovery, so this new plan has some merit.
The EarthArk and LifeHavens are specific locations that will be well known to everyone and easy to locate on a map, but for their own protection they are generally difficult to get to. Even so, they may be targeted for destruction by corporations intending to control all living DNA. That is unlikely in the immediate future, but quite possible in the not distant future. To make it sure future life can reestablish itself in a local area we can place a great variety of local seeds in a glass bottle and bury it in a local mountain. Because the bottles are hidden inside a mountain or a glacier they will be impossible to discover, but will reveal themselves many years in the future. To create this living time capsule we can choose a location such as the top of a local glacier so the bottle would come out of the glacier many years later and be broken in the river flowing out of the glacier. That would spread the seeds into the land below, and revivify it to that area’s present condition. A longer time delay could be done by placing the bottle in a high frozen part of the mountain itself and as the mountain is eroded away the seeds would come out when the bottle was broken and come down the hillside. Most seeds would be lost by this procedure, but some would survive, and some is better than nothing. And nothing is exactly what the current destructive trends will provide.
A variation for saving local seeds is to place a good quality barrel near the top of any mountain where later traveling climbers could drop seeds from all over the world. When the barrel was full, it could be buried nearby and marked for later recovery. Many mountains of the world have cold tops that could store seeds for a very long time without any human supervision or maintenance. These could be called Mini-Arks.