I have lots of projects I have been working on over the years that are finished and even published on the web, but because I haven’t promoted them they haven’t gone anywhere. It may be that an idea isn’t really anything until it is accepted as public knowledge and just being published on the web means nothing. It is rather like Leonardo Da Vinci having lots of interesting ideas which he wrote up clearly and illustrated but which were not actually viewed by anyone for hundreds of years. They came to prominence when his sketches of ideas were actually being made into functional realities.
My EarthArk Project is an example of something that desperately needs to be done. It is basically to save the plants of the world, all of them, even poison oak and cheat grass. There is lots of interest in saving the big beautiful animals and the little furry ones too and lots of money and energy is devoted to that worthy task, but if the green things which form the basis for their existence are lost, the animals are lost, because even the carnivores are dependent on green things that their prey eat. If the plants are gone, the herbivores are soon gone, and when they are gone the carnivores are gone. With climate change upon us, we must preserve the very foundation of the whole living system. That means saving the plants, and the viruses, and no doubt lots of unknown things that make it work. This means saving not just a single species of living things but a whole complex community of living things.
The EarthArk Project simply distributes envelopes to every town on earth and asks the local authorities to see to their distribution throughout the community to collect samples of their local ecosystem. Also, individuals going to unusual places could collect samples of seeds, dirt, and literally anything that has potential to support life, put a sample of it into the envelope and put that into the mail system. The already addressed envelope is sent to the South Pole station where it is placed in a container for thousand year storage.
It seems likely that in the very long time frame that I am thinking about, tens of thousands of years, that humanity will have some very difficult patches. When they recover a vibrant civilization they will need to replant the barren patches of the Earth that have lost their habitat vibrancy, but they will need the living seeds and viruses to generate that living community. The EarthArk is the best solution because it doesn’t need any human maintenance once it is in place. The current seed banks are not designed for very long sustainability of their seeds, and the most famous one at Svalbard even has a refrigeration system to maintain its cool temperatures.
The subsurface temperature at the South Pole station is about minus fifty degrees which is well below the temperature where any biological activity might degrade the seeds stored there.
Perhaps a crowdsourced funding venture is a way to make this project take off.