I would be bored the final 2/3 of life. Other than that, what would happen in real life should the crops all catastrophically fail? Scientists have long had an answer.
What would scientists do other than improve the third act of the script, you ask? They would go to the seed vault and start again. Because I am writing this article, I feel compelled to mention “seed vault” is not a euphemism for one of my gym socks back in high school, instead it is a scientific storage lab on a remote island in Norway.
Svalbard Global Seed Vault is described by the Crop Trust, which helps to fund its operations, as the “ultimate insurance policy for the world’s food supply, offering options for future generations to overcome the challenges of climate change and population growth.” The vault was created by the government of Norway and serves as a backup of a backup: Many countries have seed repositories or “genebanks” that exist to provide a reserve in case of some kind of crop catastrophe. Svalbard, in turn, retains copies of these repositories’ contents — in case something happens to them, too.
So in case of catastrophic failure, we have the building blocks for our food preserved in way so we can start over. But why so many? Why not just a core group? Can’t the hipster do without their wheatgrass and quinoa should the Blight hit?
The Crop Trust gives no less than six reasons, many of which are fundamentally environmental. Much of it comes down to this — when conditions change, we need to be able to breed new plant varieties to create crop strains that can, say, thrive in a warmer world. Or a drier one. Or a wetter one. Whatever happens.
To do this you need, as a baseline, access to as much genetic diversity as possible — so that scientists can start breeding new plants right away if it ever comes to that.
Thank goodness we have a plan. I’d also like to know our Zombie Response plan and the worlds Rise of Skynet contingency.
Ok. Gabbing Geek knows what to do in case of a world changing epidemic. Ryan will raid the seed factory, Tom will print out all of Wikipedia, Jenny will gather all the Game of Thrones cosplay to keep us warm, Jimmy will rally a moose army, and Watson, well, he can’t be trusted so we are putting that jerk on trash detail.