Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
But now, researchers are discovering that mushrooms can be used for everything from household insulation to furniture to packaging, replacing plastics, Styrofoam and other materials that are hard to recycle and harmful to the environment. They’ve even been found to eat plastic.
Why This Matters: A team of researchers at Boston University explained that human activity and pollution are causing forests to lose their fungal carbon guardians, and the loss of these fungi may be accelerating climate change. Mushrooms can be used to solve many of our sustainability and packaging challenges but the mighty mushroom deserves a little more consideration from us. Habitat loss and climate change don’t just affect trees, they also cause the loss of the carbon sequestration potential of fungi.
Scientists have come to learn that understanding which forests are best at absorbing CO2 requires understanding which mycorrhizal fungi are present in that forest’s microbiome.
Trees form partnerships with many different root fungi, but scientists have learned that particular root fungi, called ectomycorrhizal fungi, are helping trees absorb CO2 even faster.
Furthermore, ectomycorrhizal fungi can slow down decomposition, a natural process that returns carbon from forest soils back to the atmosphere.
The Potential:Katy Ayers, 28, a student at Central Community College in Columbus, Nebraska studies how mushrooms can be grown and used for all sorts of applications. She even created a canoe out of mycelium, the dense, fibrous roots of the mushroom that typically live beneath the soil.
As NBC reported she is part of a growing movement of mushroom advocates, people who believe these squishy, sometimes edible fungi can help solve some of our most pressing environmental problems.
“Mushrooms are here to help us — they’re a gift,” Ayers said. “There’s so much we can do with them beyond just food; it’s so limitless. They’re our biggest ally for helping the environment.”
Another cool application? Mushrooms can help clean up the sites of former landfills.
By WW0 Staff For the United States, the post-Trump, pre-COP26 road to Glasgow has been paved with ambition and humility. In a major speech, the President’s Envoy, John Kerry, previewed the results of his climate diplomacy before heading into two weeks of intense deliberations of world leaders. Speaking at the London School of Economics — […]
Next week, the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow will draw hundreds of world leaders to Glasgow to determine the path forward five years after the Paris Climate Agreement (for a primer, read this) as new science underscores the urgency. The conference aims to squeeze countries to strengthen the commitments they’ve made towards securing global net-zero […]
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor In a report released last week, the Department of Defense (DOD) confirmed that existing risks and security challenges in the US are being made worse due to “increasing temperatures; changing precipitation patterns; and more frequent, intense, and unpredictable extreme weather conditions caused by climate change. Now, the Pentagon is […]
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.