The other day, I was contacted by USC Canada to explore their new knowledge tool called Seedmap.org (developed in collaboration with the ETC Group), and I have to say – I am really impressed. If you want to know more about biodiversity, the importance of seeds, and sustainable agriculture in general, look no further – you can spend days on end here.
When you first enter the website, which is based on Google Maps, it’s easy to be overwhelmed, since there are more than 300 entries which appear as pins on the map. What to click on? Where to start? Thankfully, the organizers provide an introductory website complete with a step-by-step video that explains how it all works. Basically, there are three main themes that are signaled by the different colors of pins – green stands for food diversity information in general, red for particular threats and blue for solutions to safeguard food diversity around the world. Among those themes, there are subtopics such as Agricultural Biodiversity or Cultural Diversity which you can explore using the drop-down bar on the top; else, google for a particular term or just go wild in clicking on topics that are situated in your country or on the other side of the world!
In either case, this is a tremendous tool to know more about specific topics (think about climate change and biodiversity, marine wildlife and overfishing or the prevalence of a particular crop), centres of research and advocacy, and novel solutions at the forefront of research. I also really liked that each entry is thoroughly referenced and often accompanied by a series of pictures or even videos. The only thing I regret is that it’s pretty data-intensive – I can’t bring it to load on my netbook at home at all, but I’m not sure whether that’s because my internet is slow or my computer is – probably both. All the more reason to spend more time in my university’s library I guess :P. Also, the introductory homepage with news and more has a great amount of resources and links to new reports and publications etc., though it had its latest article logged in September (first I thought it was July, but turns out the ‘news’ section does have more updated articles, you just have to click around a bit!) – I do hope they keep both the news section and the map itself up to date, since that would contribute a lot to its value!
Have a look yourself and let me know what you think! Clicking here will bring you directly there.