Longyearbyen, Norway

Travel Blog  •  Ben Keene  •  06.02.06 | 12:35 PM ET

Coordinates: 78 13 N 15 40 E
Distance from North Pole: 600 miles (966 km)
imagePlanning for the worst is starting to seem more pragmatic than paranoid these days—at least if there’s any truth to the doom and gloom reporting on ecological fragility frequenting the headlines. Perhaps that’s why the Kingdom of Norway recently declared their intentions to build a global seed vault in cooperation with the United Nations and the Crop Diversity Trust. With an eye to the planet’s future food security, they will begin construction of a vault capable of storing approximately three million seed varieties later this month. Located near Longyearbyen, the administrative center of Svalbard on the aptly named Ice Fjord, the frozen repository will serve as a backup for more vulnerable seed banks elsewhere.

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) is the editor of the Oxford Atlas of the World.

Tags: Europe, Norway

Ben Keene has appeared on National Public Radio, Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio as well as other nationally syndicated programs to discuss geographic literacy and his work updating a bestselling world atlas. Formerly a touring musician, he has written for Transitions Abroad and inTravel.

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