Even nature needs a backup plan…  

Even nature needs a backup plan…

This glittering concrete monolith is a lot like that still-sealed emergency survival kit languishing in your basement since 1999: Reassuring to have around, but a bummer when you actually have to use it. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault—better known by its cute nickname, the "Doomsday Vault"—was established on this far-northern Norwegian isle in 2008 to archive frozen genetic copies of seeds already housed in seed banks around the world: a backup of all the backups. Kept at minus 0.4 degrees F within the seed vault, precious botanicals from food to fibers to flowers are safe from disasters, even of the apocalyptic variety. Lucky us: It"ll take a healthy diet of veggies to fight off the zombies.

© Pal Hermansen/Minden Pictures

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