Humanity has had to cash in on its insurance policy earlier than expected.

Deep in the side of a mountain in the Arctic archipelago is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.

Known as the “Doomsday Vault,” this seed bank — operated by the Norwegian government and containing a seed of just about every known crop in the world — is meant to be humanity’s backup in the event of a catastrophe that devastates crops.

But it was not a natural disaster that has caused scientists to have to dip in and make the first significant withdrawal from the vault. Rather, it was the most preventable of man-made disasters — war.

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