Tuesday, August 28, 2012

An Interesting Approach to Climate Change

In his TED Talk "One seed at a time", Cary Fowler talks about the importance of preserving crop diversity as a means of addressing climate change.

In a short period of time, the world's crop diversity has immensely shrunk. For example, in the United States in the 1800s, there were about 7,100 varieties of apples. Today, about 6,800 of those varieties are extinct.

Fowler argues that varieties that are now, or are in danger of becoming, extinct may have traits that are adaptable to future climates. Fowler works with the Global Crop Diversity Trust, whose mission is to collect, in the form of seeds, a "back-up" of all varieties of crops that exist in the world. As of the date of this talk, July 2009, the seed bank in Norway contained about 425,000 samples of unique crop varieties.

Every single country has contributed to this project, which Fowler emphasizes is important, as it may be the only global project that is long-term, sustainable, and positive. In closing, he asserts that without crop diversity, we will not have an effective, efficient, and sustainable solution to climate change.

While Fowler does not spend time speaking against companies that significantly contribute to the decrease in crop diversity, his talk provides a great argument against genetically modified crops.

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