Mushrooms Can Save The Earth, If We’re Smart Enough To Use Them
Entrepreneurial mycologist Paul Stamets seeks to rescue the study of mushrooms from forest gourmets and psychedelic warlords. The focus of Stamets’ research is the Northwest’s native fungal genome, mycelium, but along the way he has filed 22 patents for mushroom-related technologies, including pesticidal fungi that trick insects into eating them, and mushrooms that can break down the neurotoxins used in nerve gas.
There are cosmic implications as well. Stamets believes we could terraform other worlds in our galaxy by sowing a mix of fungal spores and other seeds to create an ecological footprint on a new planet.
A short video of Stamets explaining the nature of mycelium and his vision on a Mycotopian Paradise:
If by any chance you missed his famous TED talk, you should definitely watch it:
Beautiful time-lapses of growing mushrooms, coupled with Paul’s wise insights:
He has written six books on mushroom cultivation, use and identification; his books Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms and The Mushroom Cultivator (coauthor) have long been hailed as the definitive texts of mushroom cultivation. Other works by Paul Stamets include Psilocybe Mushrooms and Their Allies(out of print), Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World, MycoMedicinals®: an Informational Treatise on Mushrooms, and many articles and scholarly papers. His newest book is Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save The World.
Paul sees the ancient Old Growth forests of the Pacific Northwest as a resource of incalculable value, especially in terms of its fungal genome. A dedicated hiker and explorer, his passion is to preserve, protect, and clone as many ancestral strains of mushrooms as possible from this pristine woodlands. Much of the financial resources generated from sales of goods from Fungi Perfecti are returned to sponsor such research.
“The time to act is now. Waiting for science and society to wake up to the importance of these ancient Old Growth fungi is perilously slow and narrow in vision. The meager attempts thus far may be too little, too late. Unless we collectively pool our resources, the mushroom genome will become increasingly threatened, and therefore, our very existence may be at stake. The loss of these keystone organisms should be an ecological call-to-arms for all concerned about our children’s future and the future of this planet.