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The Richest Room on Earth

A space deep beneath the ground, surrounded by metre-thick concrete walls. Airtight vault doors with electronic passwords protect access, with further heavy steel doors inside. Protective clothing is essential for access to the Richest Room on Earth.

The room is 50 square metres at minus 20c - a space that contains the seeds of 25,000 plant species. It’s humbling to share space with the richest biodiversity on the planet. Kew have a billion seeds in their care and have systems in place to protect them for a couple of thousand years. Maybe then, civilisation will know how to look after them in a restored natural environment.

Fellow Doer Giles Hutchings had invited me to spend the day at Wakehurst in Sussex, meeting the custodians of the Millennium Seed Bank, the impressive, knowledgeable and passionate botanists and scientists on a mission to collect and preserve for the future, seed samples from 25% of the plants on the planet. It’s a job of importance beyond words, with a ‘business as usual’ path that’s pointing towards the loss of half of life on earth by the end of the century. Careless.

Waking people to take action and reverse at least some biodiversity loss is going to take some doing. Doing like running Do Lectures next year at Kew Gardens, Eden and the Garden of Wales, and engaging hundreds of thousands, and a million or two more, on a journey of change a . Drop a line if you want to play and get involved. There’s a lot to Do.


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