Better Living Through Mycology

Paul Stamet’s vision of a fungicentric future.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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Paul Stamets envisions a world in which mushrooms aren’t just for foodies but are a powerful way to fight disease, clean up pollution, and produce clean energy. Some fungi-friendly developments that could spring from his research:

A MUSHROOM OF ONE’S OWN Cardboard is impregnated with spores so that instead of throwing away boxes, you can put them outside and—voilà!—organic, locally grown mushrooms.

FLU FIGHTERS Fungi are developed into new and powerful antivirals that can stop smallpox, tuberculosis, HIV, and flu strains.

SPORE CLEANSERS Polluted watersheds are purified and filtered by fungi. Oil spills, mining runoff, and other contamination can also be cleaned up by mycoremediation.

THE WAR ON BUGS Entomopathogenic fungi replace toxic pesticides for termites and carpenter ants. Another strain targets malarial mosquitoes.

MUSH-VROOM Myconol, a cellulose-based biofuel produced by fungal sugars, is nearly identical to corn ethanol, without the oily agribusiness connection.

FUNGI.GOV The forests where fungi such as agarikon grow are preserved as a matter of national security. The feds stockpile fungal drugs in case of a bioterror attack or flu pandemic.

MUSHROOMS TO MARS Stamets theorizes that fungi could thrive on other planets—should we decide to enlist them as interplanetary ambassadors. “Spores have no borders,” he writes.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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