Can Mushrooms Save The World?

“… Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

(The Red Queen to Alice in Wonderland)

While the Red Queen was not someone I would especially like to emulate, the practice of being open to ideas that appear to be impossible is a good one.

There is something exhilarating about travelling into the unknown and realizing that what once seemed far fetched or like magic, is really just bits and parts of understandings we haven’t quite strung together yet.

Every day I try to wrap my head around the idea that we live in a globally connected world where available solutions and knowledge could actually catch up with and overtake our problems, leaving only the question of how we will choose to focus our expanding knowledge. Feeding the world is not impossible. It’s a problem. Living well on a healthy planet is not impossible, it’s a challenge.

I know I am old, but it wasn’t that long ago that Captain Kirk on the Enterprise asking the computer questions (and getting instant answers) was science fiction. Not only did we not have verbal technology for that 20 years ago, we didn’t have information storage. Now we have devices like “Echo.” A cylindrical bit of sorcery that can sit quietly anywhere in your home waiting to answer questions on any subject, at any time, from a seemingly infinite storage space in the cloud.

As we are recreating our world at an unprecedented pace we need to keep asking what kind of world we want to create. What is “enough?” And more importantly, what do we compare that to? How many species or people matter? Where will we go for answers and what will we do with them once we find them?

Meanwhile, here is a book that holds out the seemingly impossible hope, that if we take the time to examine the world we have been given, we might discover that the answers have been with us all along.

The book is called : Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save The World by Paul Stamets.

Stamets offers mushroom based solutions, or possible solutions for everything from Termites, to HIV, and proposes that perhaps our best shot at survival is protecting and cultivating all life on our planet. It is a hopeful look into the future and a surprising look back at where we have come from.

If you are looking for reasons to believe this season, here’s a fun place to start. The book is available online and the YouTubes are short and inspiring. At the very least it will change the way you look at the earth beneath your feet.

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