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Home » Paul Stamets on 6 Ways Mushrooms Can Save The World (Transcript)

Paul Stamets on 6 Ways Mushrooms Can Save The World (Transcript)

Paul Stamets

 In this TED 2011 talk, mushroom biologist, Paul Stamets, talks about the antimicrobial properties of fungi, how they can be used as potent insecticides, and how they may help boost the human immune system. 

Listen to the MP3 Audio here: Paul Stamets on 6 Ways Mushrooms Can Save The World

TRANSCRIPT: 

I love a challenge, and saving the Earth is probably a good one. We all know the Earth is in trouble. We have now entered in the 6X, the sixth major extinction on this planet. I often wondered, if there was a United Organization of Organisms — otherwise known as “UOO” — and every organism had a right to vote, would we be voted on the planet, or off the planet? I think that vote is occurring right now.

I want to present to you a suite of six mycological solutions, using fungi, and these solutions are based on mycelium. The mycelium infuses all landscapes, it holds soils together, it’s extremely tenacious. This holds up to 30,000 times its mass. They’re the grand molecular disassemblers of nature — the soil magicians. They generate the humus soils across the landmasses of Earth.

We have now discovered that there is a multi-directional transfer of nutrients between plants, mitigated by the mcyelium — so the mycelium is the mother that is giving nutrients from alder and birch trees to hemlocks, cedars and Douglas firs.

Dusty and I, we like to say, on Sunday, this is where we go to church. I’m in love with the old-growth forest, and I’m a patriotic American because we have those. Most of you are familiar with Portobello mushrooms. And frankly, I face a big obstacle.

When I mention mushrooms to somebody, they immediately think Portobellos or magic mushrooms, their eyes glaze over, and they think I’m a little crazy. So, I hope to pierce that prejudice forever with this group. We call it mycophobia, the irrational fear of the unknown, when it comes to fungi.

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