How mushrooms will save the world
November 25, 2002 10:46 AM   Subscribe

How mushrooms will save the world "I have a strategy for creating ecological footprints on other planets," says the Johnny Appleseed of mushrooms. "By using a consortium of fungi and seeds and other microorganisms, you could actually seed other planets with little plops. You could actually start keystone species and go to creating vegetation on planets." And the Internet is one big giant 'shroom. Fascinating article on how mushrooms may hold the key to environmental clean ups. And so much more!
posted by archimago (9 comments total)
MMMMMMMMMM............ Mushrooms.
posted by blogRot at 11:54 AM on November 25, 2002

Really interesting article, thanks achimago.

I wonder how many of our complex processes in the future will actually be adaptions of already produced complex biology, rather than the brute force we tend to take towards problem solving now.
posted by pjgulliver at 12:22 PM on November 25, 2002

I meant "archimago," damn keyboard....
posted by pjgulliver at 12:23 PM on November 25, 2002

That was a good read. Thanks for the link.
posted by Tacodog at 12:24 PM on November 25, 2002

We humans like to think that our brains make us superior, but things like this are humbling. To think, the answers could be so simple, so simplistic, and so right in front of our noses.
posted by archimago at 12:34 PM on November 25, 2002

I've listened to this guy speak. He's very energetic and very engaging. I became an oyster mushroom convert after listening to him.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:51 PM on November 25, 2002


This is the best link on MeFi today. Thanks. That is also probably why it's getting little notice.

If anyone has every read or heard a lecture by Terrence McKenna it becomes rather easy to start drawing parallels between the two men's enthusiasm and ideas regarding are fungal friends.

I do remember hearing McKenna's rant on how the psilocybin mushroom spore was a foreign visitor from another planet, how its dense exterior wall (one of the hardest organic substances known to man) and it's deep violet color (to attract and absorb ultra-violet light) allowed it to be literally spewed into the cosmos to propagate on other planets, how over a 250 million year time span and in relation to the cooling of the celestial bodies that these spores could have crossed unfathomable distance in space, and then I think of stammet's comment about what he has in store for planetary preparation by spore bombardment and I wonder what exactly he has up his sleeve.

Other interesting facts about mushrooms:

Their mycelial networks, structured very similarly to our own brains (as per the article), can have as many or more interconnections as we do synapses.

The actual mushroom is a sex organ (or fruit, I prefer to humanize here :) and only meant for sunbathing and propagation, the body itself can be acres stretched out beneath the surface.

Also the mushroom, feeding only on dead and decaying organic matter, fits in favorably on the karmic wheel.
posted by velacroix at 3:59 PM on November 25, 2002

Thanks for drawing the McKenna parallel, velacroix- that was my exact thought as well when he started talking about "seeding" other planets. It's worth noting (to those who haven't read him) that McKenna also states pretty explicitly that, more prosaic applications of the mushroom aside, the fungi had a great impact on our development from mere furry woodland creature into the thinking, speaking, inventing creatures we are now- and could have as great an impact on our psychological and social development in the future.
posted by hincandenza at 11:07 PM on November 25, 2002

Paul Stamets had several mind-expanding experiences involvin mushrooms.
posted by mecran01 at 6:44 AM on November 26, 2002

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