This is a guest post by Meg Hamill who works at LandPaths in Partnership with The Open Space District of Sonoma County, California.
Here’s a question, not meant to keep you up at night, but definitely worth thinking about: Which of the foods in your refrigerator right now would be likely to survive a global climate change?
Lucky for us, this question is not going unanswered. The Global Crop Diversity Trust recently earmarked 1.5 million dollars towards screening the world’s food supply for natural resistances to floods, temperature change, and droughts. The Trust is also looking for higher yielding crops that need little water and less space to grow.
The overarching mission of the organization is to ensure the conservation and availability of crop diversity for food security, worldwide. In February of this year, they opened the doors of their “Arctic Seed Vault,” otherwise known as “Doomsday Vault,” a safe haven for seeds from all over the world. The vault was dug into a mountainside in Svalbard, a group of islands nearly a thousand kilometers North of Norway.
Over the next two years, researchers at the Global Crop Diversity Trust are hoping to compile information on all of the climate-proof traits that occur in plants, and then locate which food crops exhibit these traits. The Trust’s executive director Cary Fowler told the BBC: “Plant breeders will be able to go online and type their search criteria, then up pops the details of the samples that match the breeders’ requirements, such as drought tolerance or heat resistance.”
Similar research is concurrently being done in the biotechnology sector. Biotech researchers are working on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) that have the ability to produce higher yields and survive climate change.
Image Credit: Photo from FreeFoto.com under a Creative Commons License