There are many EarthArk posts on this blog, and it is one of my favorite big projects, but today I got a shock when a group of seventy-eight liberal-minded people demonstrated zero interest in it. There were thirty-one posted interest groups, all of which got some signatures of interest, except for the EarthArk, which got zero. This is a group that one would be expected to be especially interested in saving the living DNA of our planet.
The basic idea of the EarthArk is to store all of the seeds and other DNA in deep-cold storage, so they would be available later. This is an important goal because many species of plants and animals are going extinct, and this is a simple and cheap method of bringing them back to life at a distant time, or in the near future after some catastrophe, like a major war. The storage site of the seeds, and of DNA, would be at the top of Argus Dome in Antarctica, (Temperatures at Dome A fall below −80 °C (−112 °F) almost every winter, while in summer they rarely exceed −10 °C (14 °F). The highest point of the ice sheet (4,093 m (13,428 ft or 2.54 miles) above sea level by GPS survey is at 80°22’S 77°21’E (-80.367 77.352)) which is not far from the South Pole. The subsurface temperature is probably below minus 50 degrees, and with some special preparations could be made much colder. At those very low temperatures the DNA would remain stable for thousands of years, and thus seeds could be replanted and grow. Many varieties of domesticated plants are presently at risk because the genetic diversity is being lost to higher-producing hybrid species. The problem with that is that these hybrids are genetically identical and are susceptible to massive die-offs.
The basic plan is for a few people from different places all over the Earth to be given a pre-addressed envelope labeled the EarthArk, McMurdo Station, Antarctica. All the recipient person is asked to do is to collect local seeds and a small sample of the plants from their local area and drop the envelope into the local mail delivery system. After arriving at the McMurdo Station mailbox, the seeds would be trucked or flown to the Argus Dome seed depository.
The whole EarthArk Project has gone through many iterations in hopes of finding a way of presenting this planet-saving idea in a format that would generate interest. So far, as was demonstrated today, that goal has not been reached. If the EarthArk is not created –
A child born today may live to see the irretrievable end of nearly all life as we know it.