We thought we knew about mushrooms. Those soft-tissued, mini umbrella-looking plants, which are sometimes edible, sometimes poisonous, and sometimes psychedelic. Some mushroom can also help with mental disorders. While others can be turned into a delicious meal. But this information is barely the surface of what mushrooms can do. This tiny creature actually makes enormous contributions for us and the planet: they are preserving the world even before humanity existed.
Not many people know that the soft tissue cap of mushrooms is actually just its fruit and the bigger part (the actual plant) is the fungi. Scattered beneath the soil are fungus that causes mushrooms to sprout, which we harvest.
What is it to do with saving the Earth, you say?
Mycologists have been studying fungus, and they said, fungi play a huge role in the ecosystem. Fungi connect the root systems of individual plants into a vast network, allowing plants to take in nutrients, minerals and water from afar; they create soil structure and stability, mitigating the effects of erosion and topsoil loss; and they suppress pathogens and bacteria within the soil.
After reading the latter, some of you might have realized, that yes, fungi grows anywhere. The most astounding part is they decompose, digest, recompose and reinvigorate everything. Even debris, large rocks, and even plastics.
This process and ability of the fungi is called, mycoremediation. And experts have been utilizing this great capability of fungi to save the Earth. They have actually recently used it in Ecuador
to clean up oil spills.
“By and large, fungi, maybe apart from mountains and giant pieces of rock, will digest, dissolve, recompose, redistribute, recycle and reinvigorate [everything we’ve created],” said Peter McCoy, author of “Radical Mycology: A Treatise On Seeing & Working With Fungi” and founder of Radical Mycology.
“They do that slowly and subtly but they’ve been doing it for eons. They’ve been doing this almost since the beginning of the planet. After civilization falls, all our debris will become fungal food at some point, even the plastics,” he added.
This means, fungi have been saving the planet for millions of years. If it happens that the all the species become wiped out, and the trees gone, fungi would still survive and recolonize the Earth. Strewn across and beneath the planet's surface, it will prepare the globe for a new start, and will become the onset of a new life.