The world of tomorrow will not be the same as the world of today and we need to find ways to survive. If we are going to follow the Earth Charter's call to “protect and restore the integrity of Earth's ecological systems, with special concern for biological diversity,” and to “control and eradicate non-native or genetically modified organisms harmful to native species,” at the same time as we move toward the future, we need to start saving our seeds.
The Red de Guardianes de Semillas (RGS, in English: “Network of Seed Savers”) of Ecuador started with just that goal in mind. During the 20th and early 21st centuries, the world lost 70% of its traditional seed varieties – today, we continue to lose heirloom seeds at a rate of 5 varieties per day. We talk of developing organic agriculture, permaculture, agro-ecology as ways to adapt to the future, and yet if we don't have the flexibility of traditional seed varieties, there is no way we can do it. As Javier Carrera of the RGS puts it, “It's impossible to develop a true organic or agro-ecological agriculture with [industrial seeds] because you will always have to buy them from industry and so you'll always be dependent. And also because they're so uniform you can't adapt them to your productive system.”
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