Friday, August 27, 2010

Help save a Russian seed bank

Related not to sheepherding, but to another passion of mine: plants and biodiversity.

A Russian Pavlovsk Experimental Station, repository of thousands of berries of agricultural importance, is threatened with destruction due to development. Apparently a new law calls for the privatization of public lands that are not being used 'profitably,' and a recent court order upheld the privatization and development of the seed bank's land.

It is potentially a catastrophic loss of an institution that Russian scientists gave their lives to defend during World War II. They defended not with guns, but by their refusal to eat the potatoes and grains in their charge, and starved.

More information here:

Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has decided to look into the matter, which is good, but it's important that we continue to push until the situation is resolved and the station is preserved. We also need to get the word out everywhere so that people understand the importance of biodiversity, both to the natural landscape and our human souls, and to agriculturalists who depend on seed banks like these to breed new varieties that are resistant to disease and changing climate patterns. 

If you're moved to action, here are some options:

* Sign this petition:
* Write a letter to the President and Prime Minister (with a copy to the Russian ambassador in your country):
* Tweet President Dmitry Medvedev:
* Forward this article to others, post it on your websites and blogs and encourage friends and contacts to take action.

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