26 February 2008

Seed in the news

Why, amid the self-congratulation suffusing media accounts of the global seed bank in Svalbard, does it require a "radical" NGO to point out the problem? You don't get a prize for destroying the world's crop diversity, then saving a tiny sample in the freezer.

4 Comments:

Blogger Gardener of La Mancha said...

Thanks, I hadn't heard of this. I remember Gary Paul Nabhan pointing out that when seeds are locked away, these plants aren't evolving alongside their pathogens. So the plants from these seeds may not make it anyway. (Then again, you hear about those ancient lotus seeds that germinate and grow so who knows.)

And I guess they will still have the genetic material for bioengineering, if not viable plants.

As for the corporations behind the bank, the growers, and the legal rights...I don't want to be that cynical right now.

2/27/2008 11:36 PM  
Blogger EAL said...

Yeah, Michele posted about this last year and it prompted a huge global warming comment war--well, just one guy who kept denying.

I find the whole thing scary; freaks me out. Certainly nothing to feel in any way congratulatory about.

2/28/2008 9:48 PM  
Blogger Fin De Fichier said...

I agree with your assessment...although the cynic in me thinks that matters could be even worse. At least a country like Norway, which scored better than the USA on the Transparency International Corruption Index, is doing the hosting.

2/29/2008 6:57 PM  
Blogger mmw said...

Well, I don't know that seed banking is intrinsically scary. It's the obvious, and smart, thing to do. The problem is that the media (and the giant nonprofits that run these things) present it as a sufficient response to the destruction of small-scale farming and crop biodiversity, something that's been going on for decades because of globalization and economic imperialism, not global warming. (although obviously that won't help). Ex situ conservation is no answer for the elimination of "in situ conservation", i.e., non-agbiz farming.

And FdF, let's see what Norway's transparency index looks like after we invade and steal their oil.

2/29/2008 7:43 PM  

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