By Barbara Heneghan.
Technology is constantly evolving and opening up new worlds of possibility. We can explore the world in many ways that it hasn't been possible to explore the world before. We can now explore and experience the world through an array of virtual worlds which enable us to travel in cyberspace and see the greatest depths of the ocean, the outer most regions of space, molecular structures within plant, animal and human bodies.
Despite all the continuing advances in technology it is amazing that our survival as a race in 'The Real World' still depends on such basic needs as water, nature and wild plants.
Each evolution of technology also gives us the keys to understand our past and our future evolution.
While technology becomes more sophisticated and robust, our planet and its history is becoming more fragile. The development of aerial drones and GPS technology allows archaeologists to survey sites leaving them intact and gathering vast amounts of data.
It was famously written by George Santayana 'Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.' Although it seems to be a sad condition of human affairs that wars will still rage and famines will result, technology at least gives us the opportunity to learn from our past and to prepare for our future.
The use of technology in epigenetic studies has helped us to understand that the effects of famine can last in the genes for up to nine generations giving us greater understanding of our inherited conditioning.
As we accept that we cannot prevent war, we can mitigate the effects of it with forward planning. On the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen the Norwegian government have entirely funded a seed bank known as a “Doomsday Vault” . The vault is located about 800 miles from the north pole. The purpose of this seed bank is to act as a back up to the approximated 1700 seed banks around the world. These seed banks try to protect the natural seeds of countries from natural disasters and war ensuring that no plants become extinct. Worldwide many of these seed banks have been destroyed by flooding and fires. The Norwegian seed bank has been able to ensure no country loses its native plants. Each country in the world owns a vault in which they submit their seeds, for 80 years these seeds have remained secure. In 2015 scientists had been working on developing wheat, bean and pulse plants that were resistant to high heat. This project had been running for 10 years in Aleppo in Syria, unfortunately due to war their seed bank had been destroyed, scientists had no choice but to remove some of their seeds from the doomsday vault and continue their research in nearby Morocco.
Without technology projects like the Norwegian seed bank would not exist, without technology we would not have this increased need to connect to nature to balance us.
As a forager living in north Mayo I hope the future of technology allows us to find new ways to work, live and play that protect this delicate planet rather than destroy its natural resources.