There is an article in the BBC news yesterday, Scientists rush to freeze plant DNA before ‘sixth extinction’, that rekindled my thoughts on my many posts on the EarthArk. It seems, according to this article, there is a massive rush to save all the species of the world. That assertion strikes me as strange because I have received almost zero interest in The EarthArk Project. At present it is difficult to find it, even with a delimited Google search, even though there is an abundance of other inane stuff that percolates to the first page.
Some quotes from the article: “The project is part of the Global Genome Initiative, which aims to gather and preserve the DNA of all life on Earth in cryo-storage facilities.” Many are “already growing in botanic gardens. Most can be found within a five-mile (8-km) radius of Washington, DC.” “A growing international network of cryo-storage facilities is taking part in the Global Genome Initiative. There are 25 so far on every continent except Antarctica.”
It is wonderful that the Global Genome Initiative is being developed; however, the statement that there are 25 of these genetic banks apparently spread across 25 locations everywhere except Antarctica is strange to me. Antarctica is the exact place where they should be putting the major effort, because some places in Antarctica are cold enough for permanent storage for thousands of years without any human supervision. The cryogenic containers in the existing Global Genome Initiative must be maintained constantly by human intervention, and if the containers ever come to room temperature for very long all their work is lost forever. If the grid power is lost, the containers must be chilled with alternate power like gas-powered generators, but if the fuel runs out the whole system fails.
A simple shipping container set into the Argus dome in Antarctica at 13,000 feet altitude, which is even higher than the South Pole, would never come above -40°C, and at that temperature there is no biological activity. If DNA can be recovered from 30,000-year-old Neanderthals found in temperate regions of Europe, certainly DNA would survive in much better condition and for a much longer time on the Argus dome.
In the BBC article it was mentioned that a high percentage of the world’s species live within a five-mile radius of Washington, DC, in botanical gardens. That isn’t comforting. See The Doomsday Clock chart created by the Atomic Scientists themselves. When we are discussing subjects like surviving the 6th extinction the ugly existential problems must be addressed, and a five-mile radius of the Capitol is within the fireball radius of a larger H-bomb. In the long run, that is millions of years, we must consider that location as too high a risk for a DNA storage bank. As I write this there may be hundreds of these weapons aimed at that exact spot. The genetic storage bank at Svalbard is equally useless in the long run, because of obvious warm weather, and being a bomb target. I am unfamiliar with the other 23 they are referring to, but one would hope some of them would survive a year without dedicated human help. The EarthArk would survive easily, forever, and it should be built immediately.
List of EarthArk posts from the most recent to oldest
(This page – Index of The EarthArk category’s posts)
Potential enemies of the EarthArk project
How to save the frogs of the world
Vint Cerf discusses 1000 year storage of digital information
What is worth saving? DNA, Life, Humanity, Civilization, anything?
The EarthArk Project made even easier.
The World Sustainability Date
Our Final Hour by Martin Rees – book review
The Fate Of The Species by Fred Guterl – book review
The Watchman’s Rattle by Rebecca D. Costa – 2nd review
How our finest humans are leading us to disaster
Edward Teller – patriot !?
February 29th is Leapday and Earth Ark Day
Ignite Bend 8 was inspirational.
Why Svalbard, seed bank is in the wrong place.
February 29th is The Earth Ark Day
I’ve been rejected by the Ignite Bend committee.
How do we get a person to be interested in the distant future?
Individual human rights balanced with humanity’s rights.
Our food comes from cheap energy.
Population and resource consumption explosions explained.
Demonstrate your thankfulness on Thanksgiving Day.
7 Billion people versus food which needs land, water and energy
Copper is becoming scarcer but is essential to modern civilization.
Creating The EarthArk is the most moral thing humanity can do.
Saving endangered species is overly optimistic
Ice flow in Antarctica and The EarthArk Project
Archive books, seeds, animals and people.
Some certain things about The EarthArk Project
People only pay for things they know they want.
Christchurch is humanity’s center for survival.
The Earth Ark Project – Index page is listed by date posted
Striving toward a new meaning for human existence.
The Nuclear Tipping Point by US Secretary of Defense.
It is a sad day for me.
70% of known plant species are at risk of extinction.
A moving adventure begins with a new house
How to we find a comfortable home for old age?
Worse than War by Daniel Goldhagen – book review
Top 3 events for humanity! – Ever.
What if we had a population explosion in reverse?
Mountain top adventures in Antarctica
Your personal EarthArk in a free water bottle.
What would I like to have accomplished in 10 years
Global Catastrophes aren’t all that bad. – NOT ! ! !
A new myth for the 10,000 year Ecstasy
The EarthArk seeds need a big airplane for transport.
What will control the world for 10,000 years?
2012 – The movie – A caustic review.
A quick recovery plan from a Doomsday disaster
Preparations for a basic EarthArk
Homeplanet Security – Update of major risks.
Toba or not Toba that was a question of human survival.
Global Catastrophic Risks by Bostrom & Cirkovic – review #4
Global Catastrophic Risks by Bostrom & Cirkovic – review #3
Global Catastrophic Risks by Bostrom & Cirkovic – review #2
The EarthArk Project vaccine bank.
Where the people aren’t on planet Earth?
How you can solve The Doomsday Equation
The Age of Stupid – movie review and meeting.
Who wants to die on Doomsday day? Not I!
Eliminating poverty from the Earth
My previous blogs might have been too negative to be read.
New Year’s Resolutions must be meaningful.
Probaway Person of the year Nadya Suleman (Octomom)
The evolution of my thoughts is getting weirder.
How to make big stone domes cheaply.
Living antifreeze compounds may save species.
Who will be the most hated person in history?
Give people of the future what they need to survive.
Now is the best of times but it’s also the worst of times!
Megaprojects for the real future.
Saving the animal world with cryonics.
Restoring animal life to a ravaged Earth.
Richard Jefferies – The Story of My Heart – review
What are the tipping points for the world?
The laws of world society in 5000 years
Soon Doomsday will end and the New Adventure will begin.
WMDs – The Current progress defending against terrorism
Human life on Earth in the year 7,000 CE.
PM Gordon Brown too little too late for Paradise.
Lederman, Alvarez and the “Crater of Doom”
Now we can’t avoid destroying the Earth.
It’s coming! The flood that is and we need the EarthArk.
Fallen Leaf Lake, CA. The good life.
What is the ideal human population for maximizing happiness?
The near future must include an EarthArk.
And that’s the way it is—and I still love it.
Cold, Dark and Empty
The coming human population crash is an unpopular topic.
Population pendulum will soon swing to well below a billion people
Ancient Homer lends hope to our despair.
With great power comes great responsibility—and YOU have the power to save the world.
The EarthArk Project Goals
What books should be discarded?
Doomsday and Virtual Weapons States
Oil consumption collides with disaster
Field guide to the Apocalypse in review
Famine is now here and coupled with A-bombs and ICBMs.
Darwin Awards are coming humanity’s way.
How to get to an Earthark container in Central Antarctica
Potential Earthark sites in central Antarctica
Antarctica mountains considered for Eartharks
Antarctica’s Gamburtsev mountains and the Earthark.
Earthark Project – Sample Index Page
Where are the coldest places in Antarctica?
The Trials of J. Robert Oppenheimer
The Revivification Of Mother Earth
Earthark, Lifehaven and Recuperate The Earth
The term EarthArk sent to California
Happy New Year from Dr. Doomsday
EarthArk supporter certificates and buttons
Doomsday, Armageddon, Apocalypse and Revelation
The probable future of humanity
Caffe Mediterraneum is the first EarthArk drop site.
The first EarthArk is being prepared for Antarctica.
There is also many posts on The Life Haven Project, aimed more at saving animal families than plant DNA.
Thanks to Duncan for alerting me to the BBC article.