Can All the Planet’s Seeds Be Gathered in One Place?
Part of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the Millennium Seed Bank collects and stores seeds from around the world for conservation and sustainability.
Seeds are always objects of a magical quality because they content latent life inside. They’re also the treasures of a planet where one in five plant species (somewhere between 60,000 and 100,000) is in danger of extinction. Part of the UK’s Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, the Millennium Seed Bank (MSB) is a gigantic collection of invaluable plant embryos, and is dedicated to collecting, storing, and preserving the world’s seeds.
Located in Sussex County, the MSB receives seeds from around the globe. It has alliances with institutions and labs in about 100 countries. Once there, the seeds are examined, classified, cleaned, dissected, and stored in underground vaults at freezing temperatures. Freezing stops the seeds’ metabolic process, slowing their germination and death, which is how they’re kept intact for a long time.
An unlikely bank, it is today the largest and most complete concentration of seeds. With more than a billion seeds divided into 87,500 collections, it’s the equivalent of 10% of all the plant biodiversity on the planet. The MSB’s vital task is to safeguard Earth’s plant diversity and to make plants available for scientific study —invaluable when one considers how much we don’t know about them. The seed bank also contributes to efforts to reforest natural areas that have been severely affected by people.
Imagine for a moment the quantity of perfect information lodged in this botanical archive. Then remember the essential role that plants have in the functioning of the planet and only then might one begin to quantify the value of the initiative.
A generous gift to future generations, the colossal collection continues to grow each day. A plant-based Noah’s ark, it ensures that the diversity of these plants —among Earth’s most dazzling treasures— is preserved intact.
7 Recommendations for Organizing Your Library
For the true bibliophile, few things are more important than finding a book from within your library.
Red tea, the best antioxidant beverage on earth
Red tea is considered to be the most unusual of teas because it implies a consistently different preparation process. ––It is believed that its finding came upon surprisingly when traditional green
A brief and fascinating tour of the world's sands
To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour. - William Blake What are we standing on? The ground beneath our feet
Strengthen your memory with rosemary oil
For thousands of years rosemary oil has been traditionally admired and used due to its many properties. In the Roman culture, for example, it was used for several purposes, among them cleansing, as
Literature as a Tool to Build Realities
Alain de Botton argues that great writers are like lenses through which we can see an infinite array of possibilities.
Mandelbrot and Fractals: Different Ways of Perceiving Space
Mathematics has always placed a greater emphasis on algebra, a “purer” version of itself, one that is more rational at least. Perhaps like in philosophy, the use of a large number knotted concepts in
Luis Buñuel’s Perfect Dry Martini
The drums of Calanda accompanied Luis Buñuel throughout his life. In his invaluable memoirs, published under the Buñuel-esque title, My Last Sigh, an entire chapter is dedicated to describing a
A Brief Manual of Skepticism, Courtesy of Carl Sagan
Whether or not you’re dedicated to science, these tips to identify fallacies apply to any form of rigorous thinking.
How to Evolve from Sadness
Rainer Maria Rilke explored the possible transformations that sadness can trigger in human beings.
Alan Watts, A Discreet And Charming Philosopher Of The Spirit
British thinker Alan Watts was one of the most accessible and entertaining Western interpreters of Oriental philosophy there have been.