One seed at a time, protecting the future of food | Cary Fowler



The varieties of wheat, corn and rice we grow today may not thrive in a future threatened by climate change. Cary Fowler takes us inside a vast global seed bank, buried within a frozen mountain in Norway, that stores a diverse group of food-crop for whatever tomorrow may bring.

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Featured speakers have included Al Gore on climate change, Philippe Starck on design, Jill Bolte Taylor on observing her own stroke, Nicholas Negroponte on One Laptop per Child, Jane Goodall on chimpanzees, Bill Gates on malaria and mosquitoes, Pattie Maes on the “Sixth Sense” wearable tech, and “Lost” producer JJ Abrams on the allure of mystery. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, development and the arts. Closed captions and translated subtitles in a variety of languages are now available on TED.com, at Watch a highlight reel of the Top 10 TEDTalks at

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  • only JESUSCHRIST SAVES.no one else!!

    C May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • ok…we have back up seeds … but we still need the water!!!

    C May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • مـــيـــن🥰 يـرحــــب🥰 بــــي🥰 يــضـغط لايـــك🥰ويـراســــلنـــي خـــــاص واشـتـرك بـقـنـاتـــي
    *whatapps**0046736374818*💋💋💋

    نصيرة الفتحية May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • I'm inseminating my bed and other places everywhere, everyday. But my seedlings don't grow, they just seem to die all the time. I'm confused. Help me

    Clement B May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • Should hold human eggs Nd sperm for humanity insurance policy

    Aaron Mcmahon May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • 讲的不错

    Albert J. May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • It worries me that such a magnificent TED talk with such a pressing and profoundly meaningful message only has about 50k views in 10 years, while a TED talk about procrastination has 20 million in 2 years… It kind of exemplifies the problems we are in… Let these procrastinators watch this talk and help/support this work…

    Chide Groenouwe May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • Here in Perí we have a project to store seeds, and is working good and exchanging whit other countries, and in LAtin América is called "REd de semillas" (seeds network)

    Joel J7 May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • 9 years later and the ice/snow there is melting… 🙁

    Christopher Dine May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • Как жаль, что он не упомянул огромный труд, проведенный в этом направлении Николаем Ивановичем Вавиловым.
    Schade, dass er die gewaltige Arbeit von Nikolai Wawilow in dieser Richtung nicht erwähnt hat.
    What a pity that he did not mention the tremendous work done in this direction by Nikolai Vavilov.

    Vladimir Pinnemik May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • I felt like nudging him and saying "Psst shut up, don't tell everyone about this amazing seed bank in Svalbard – I'm afraid some nutcase(s) is going to go and blow it up!"

    Tchikanii May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • This guy seems to be so sentimental about crops.

    kaushal shastry May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • eye opening

    jexcelme May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • The reality is that this cave, keep the genetic diversity of the world, or better sequester the genetic diversity of tropical countries to usufruct the economically and culturally in the future in and which the Western powers are planning the destruction of existing civilizations to start his so-called new world order.

    Marco Alvarado May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • It's supposed to say "Cary Fowler: One seed at a time, protecting the future of food". But I'm guessing they couldn't fit all that into the title on youtube

    kidcrash0 May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • The ending of this video with all the orbs, kind of tripped me out

    kidcrash0 May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • Protecting the future of F ??? what does that mean ?

    Mithun Chandra Das / MitZ May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • Cary Fowler and Dr Vandana Shiva are both heroes for saving seeds. I do hope he is working with her and her organisation Navdanya. We need their combined wisdom to ensure the future of our crops for the next 1,000 years.

    RJ Thomas May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • I disagree, mainly from the standpoint of duplicating work. Suppose we need a crop that can withstand high salt content in the soil; with genetic engineering, it might take several iterations (a couple growing seasons) to find a good crop, when instead we could find one in the seedbank that works with little or no modifications. That one instance is likely more than enough to pay back the cost of running this bank.

    JRPeyesatsne May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • bravo

    Otori Shingen May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • UFO was here..

    PEACE

    Bryan Kale May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • Please, please… do never accept any GMO seeds in this amazing seed bank!

    T4AVideos May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • What's the song at the end?

    twilightawakening May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • Great talk.

    Thinking4You May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • I agree.

    Or if not a universal child cap perhaps a license to have children. It sounds like too much power but really, I would rather the government be giving the right people with good families and economic situations the chance to have kids rather than allowing poor or fundamentalist folks to push out kids in order to gain money or voting power.

    The only question would be how to implement or enforce it.

    Big_Nose May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • Diagnostic, the main reason the poor have so many children is lack of education, especially education for women. Education effects many things, among them awareness of contraception. Also, in situations where people are poor they often have large families in hopes that SOME children make it to adulthood to care for their parents. Until we can make sure their 1 child survives, is limiting them just? Think of this, the quake in China leveled that school that is a whole generation in a family dead.

    midare May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • Ok this is kinda screwed up that place looks like something I've seen in mass effect

    Laughingpug May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • I think the long term human solution to overpopulation was created the very day man evolved from whatever spark or collision that created him in the first place. Not to just simplify matters…but… ; he will eat the food until it is gone and die. Sorry to say but that is all living things. It doesn't take mental awareness to know 'Adapt or DIE"! It's even more base than mating.

    Brian Chamberlain May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • I wouldn't go as far to say an end of humanity, but maybe an end to society as we know it. Sure there may be widespread disease and hunger strikes, but it wouldn't be enough to eradicate the human race.

    Sadly it might take a few catastrophes across the globe for us to learn how to treat each other and the rest of the world.

    creamypouf8 May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • or "coolwhip"?

    86kinky86 May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • like hwip and hweat?
    where you kinda pronounce the h first?
    or do you say wu-heat and wu-hip?

    I pronounce them as wip and weat… so no i do not

    FunkmasterFic May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • the next poison ivy lol

    Kuber Verma May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • Does anyone else pronounce the "h" in wheat?… how would you say "whip cream"?

    worldsavy May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • well….simple….because it's mainstream media :D.

    EyFmS May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • i wouldn't put all hope in 1 spotof seed storage, what if there is an earthquake….

    i would definitely split the move some into a different facility just incase something happens.

    EN Reefs May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • 6000?????? extinct holy shiet! maybe missing cure gone?

    EN Reefs May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • Corporate ownership of genetic material, along with debt-controlled cash-cropping, is a far greater threat to genetic diversity than our global warming (oops) climate change.

    flyhead2 May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • As an atheist I am opposed to all notions of a God.
    As a human being, familiar with the folly and foolishnesh of mankind, making man a god is infinately worse.

    flyhead2 May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • And what of wild plants from which all these agricultural crops come? Surely their natural diversity is of some value.

    EatTheWeeds May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • Well you are right, ultimately the main contributor of energy input on the earth system is the Sun, either directly as EM energy or indirectly as stored energy in fossil fuels, biomass etc.
    It is also true that the output of EM energy from the Sun has increased but it doesnt correlate very well with the increase of global temperature, which has been even more dramatic. On the other hand important green house gases have increased which do correlates better with increased temp. over the years.

    magua73 May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • Vangalex wrote:
    "Climate change… yes, this is the coldest summer on record in Western New York"

    What exactly with the word "global" you dont understand? Is not called "local climate change" for a reason, it is called "global climate change" implying a global trend of raising temperatures.

    There is total consensus among scientists that the global temperate is rising, but what it is disputed is the degree of human involvement in the temperature rising.

    magua73 May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • 500 seeds per sample sounds like an awfully small sample for long term storage.

    Thanodendron May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • all of those species are just dna information, just information.

    If we can sequence the genomes of all species, then store them as data just as we do computer data. Then perhaps that would be the best and safest way to store that information.

    roidroid May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • I guess it would be most beneficial to do both, but we have to look at the potential costs of doing the reservoir thing. From what I could understand, it seems like it's not very expensive, just kept in poor locations.

    and it's possible we may not even need the actual seed but just their genetic variance in some sort of information based document, like a pdf or a some sort of text file.

    Zetimenvec May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • true true. i just hope we can do both.

    stillhuman May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • it may be colder here in NY, but on a global scale the temperature is rising, albeit slowly. I don't think his assertion that the hottest weather now will be peanuts to the coldest then is all that accurate, considering he's trained in genetic variability, not climate change. But it's still not a bad point either way.

    The climate has changed dramatically in the past, and there's no real way of knowing that it won't change again.

    Zetimenvec May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • weather cycles are a little more predictable on a long term scale, though they're not too heavily tested, so we may just be masturbating our ego.

    Zetimenvec May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply
  • what chance? If Moores law can give an inkling of an idea into how advanced our technology is going to be then, there's very little chance that we won't be able to handle this.

    The only chance we can take is to ban genetic experimentation on the basis of some fabricated ethical or religious foundation.

    Zetimenvec May 30, 2020 2:02 am Reply

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