Published In The Great North Arrow, February 1, 2023: Magic Mushrooms Of A Greater Kind

- jim Young

“We’re not talking about one hungry plant here, we’re talking about conquest.” - Seymour from Little Shop of Horrors”


Scientists around the world are researching the possibility of getting rid of our “plastics problem” with

“polyurethane-eating” mushrooms. In recent years a variety of mushrooms have been discovered that seem to have the capability of digesting and breaking down plastics over a period of several months. Left on their own, the general consensus has been that plastic bags take 10 to 20 years to decompose, while plastic bottles require 450 years and other plastics up to 1,000 years to return to the earth.

As an added bonus, some of these mushrooms can transform the plastic into an edible mycelium.


It is probably best that we manage our expectations for an immediate solution, but would it be too much to hope that we might finally be able to rid the oceans of the deadly plastics that continue to plague them? Can we expect to one day see mushrooms growing in our landfill sites helping to reduce the waste and even feed some birds and animals, if not humans?


Even if it’s not enough to enable plastic producers to ramp production back up to their original levels, I find this news encouraging.


And doesn’t it really make sense anyway, to think that nature has a “back up” plan for whatever man can throw at it? Man seems to be on a self destruct course as he continues to pollute and destroy the very world he needs to sustain life. 


But that’s not Mother Nature’s concern nor has it ever been.


Mother Nature is secure in knowing that all will be right with the world for eternity, with or without man.


Or does Mother Nature perhaps have her own agenda? Maybe she was trying to keep her mushrooms a secret from man until he had created the final path to his own extinction. Only then was Mother Nature planning to release her mushrooms on the plastic that man had left behind. All would be right with the world again, but this time without man’s annoying habits to disturb her.


How arrogant man must be to think he must “save the world”.


Man would do better to concentrate on just saving himself.


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