Our ancestors have used mushrooms as medicine for thousands of years. The Greek physician
Hippocrates, 450 BCE, classified the amadou mushroom (Fomes fomentarius) as a potent anti-inflammatory and for cauterizing wounds. Although mushrooms have long been used by various cultures, only recently has modern science rediscovered what the ancients knew long ago—that mushrooms can be deep reservoirs of powerful medicines (Stamets & Zwickey, 2014).
Indeed, it is well established that both the human population and Mother Earth could benefit from the existence of mushrooms which could one day save the world. From fulfilling our macro-nutrient needs to increasing our immune system in order to fight off viruses & diseases (Stamets, 2009; 2012).
Some mushrooms, however, are now under clinical trials due to their mind altering effects which has the potential to cure a number of mental health disorders such as depression, addiction, and anxiety with many more results soon to come. And as long as there are organizations who are allowed to study any psychedelics with medicinal uses, then it could very possibly be that they have been part of our evolution for thousands of years (Jr, 2017; Mcrae, 2017; Thomas, Malcolm & Lastra, 2017).
The benefits of mycelium to our planet
Mycelium is the roots of white fuzzy threads or network where mushrooms spawn. Paul Stamets has briefly explained on Fungi the impact mycelium has on our ecology
Four components of mycorestoration are described in detail:
These hardwood dowels, or “plug spawn”, have been inoculated with a single species of fungi. Plug spawn is used to inoculate a fresh cut log to encourage the growth and fruiting of a specific species of edible and/or medicinal mushroom. Plug spawn can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4-6 months before use.
Log Incubation period
Log Fruiting Cycle
After the incubation period, logs can be soaked to force a fruiting.
Ballroom, Jr. (2017). Psychedelic Science 2017, Psilocybin Mushrooms and The Mycology of Consciousness. Retrieved 01/16/2019 from http://psychedelicscience.org/conference/interdisciplinary/psilocybin-mushrooms-and-the-mycology-of-consciousness
Mcrae, M. (2017). Science Alert, Research Shows Magic Mushrooms Can Offer Real Benefits in Depression Therapy. Retrieved 01/16/2019 from https://www.sciencealert.com/therapy-for-depression-gets-a-significant-boost-when-combined-with-psilocybin
Stamets, P. (2005). Mycellium running. Berkeley, California,: Ten Speed Press.
Stamets, P. (2009). Fungi Perfecti, The Search for Agarikon. Retrieved 01/16/2019 from http://www.fungi.com/blog/items/the-search-for-agarikon.html
Stamets, P. (2012). The Blog, Agarikon: Ancient Mushroom for Modern Medicine. Retrieved 01/16/2019 from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-stamets/agarikon-mushroom_b_1861947.html
Stamets, P., & Zwickey, H. (2014). Medicinal Mushrooms: Ancient Remedies Meet Modern Science. Integrative medicine (Encinitas, Calif.), 13(1), 46-7. Retrieved 01/16/2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4684114/pdf/46-47.pdf
Thomas, K., Malcolm, B. and Lastra, D. (2017). Psilocybin-Assisted Therapy: A Review of a Novel Treatment for Psychiatric Disorders. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs. [online] 59(5), pp.446-455. Available at https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02791072.2017.1320734 [Accessed 16 Jan. 2019]
Dunbar's number is a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships—relationships in which an individual knows who each person is and how each person relates to every other person. This number was first proposed in the 1990s by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, who found a correlation between primate brain size and average social group size. By using the average human brain size and extrapolating from the results of primates, he proposed that humans can comfortably maintain only 150 stable relationships.
Dunbar is an anthropologist at the University College of London, who wrote a paper on Co-Evolution Of Neocortex Size, Group Size And Language In Humans where he hypothesizes:
... there is a cognitive limit to the number of individuals with whom any one person can maintain stable relationships, that this limit is a direct function of relative neocortex size, and that this in turn limits group size ... the limit imposed by neocortical processing capacity is simply on the number of individuals with whom a stable inter-personal relationship can be maintained.
Dunbar supports this hypothesis through studies by a number of field anthropologists. These studies measure the group size of a variety of different primates; Dunbar then correlate those group sizes to the brain sizes of the primates to produce a mathematical formula for how the two correspond. Using his formula, which is based on 36 primates, he predicts that 147.8 is the "mean group size" for humans, which matches census data on various village and tribe sizes in many cultures.
Want to grow fresh veggies and flowers but space is limited? A raised garden bed is a perfect solution. Here's how to make one.
People are isolated from each other, public spaces are being privatized, and we are being punished for attempting to grow our own food. There is only one solution: resistance. Join James for this classic Corbett Report episode where he explores how to build communities through revolutionary gardening, revolutionary walking and other everyday activities.
Using wikis and digital fabrication tools, TED Fellow Marcin Jakubowski is open-sourcing the blueprints for 50 farm machines, allowing anyone to build their own tractor or harvester from scratch. And that's only the first step in a project to write an instruction set for an entire self-sustaining village (starting cost: $10,000).
Open Source Ecology. (2017). Machines : Index. [online] Available at: http://opensourceecology.org/gvcs/gvcs-machine-index/ [Accessed 18 Oct. 2017].
The most common, man-made, building material is undoubtedly concrete. Each ton of cement produces about 900 kg CO2. But researchers have observed that the addition of hemp fiber to concrete resulted in a high performing, eco-friendly construction material. Hemp is not a new construction material. Archaeologists have confirmed the use of hemp fiber (also called ‘shive’) in the construction of a bridge, dated to the 6th century AD, in southern France. Hemp is a fast-growing plant that has prospect not only in terms of biomass energy recovery, but also of material in the construction field in accordance with the principles of sustainable development.
What is Hempcrete?
Hempcrete is non-toxic, bio-composite mixture of hemp shive, lime binder and water. The hemp shive is the wooden part of the hemp stem (approximately 2/3 of stem) in the processing of hemp plant to the fiber. Commonly, it is lime or cement but could be any combination of elements to make a hemp binder. A lightweight material, it is about one eighth the weight of concrete. Hempcrete can be used to construct walls, floors and roofs; or molded (monolithic), sprayed or precast (e.g. hemp bricks or panels). Generally, it is inserted as infill insulation around the structural framing of the house. Often for clarity, hempcrete is referred to as Lime Hemp Composite (LHC).
Outstanding Thermal Properties
A 300mm thick hempcrete wall has an R-value - a measure of thermal resistance - of 4.2 while a 200mm thick floor infill will achieve an R-value of 4.0. The higher the R-value, the higher the resistance. For reference, snow has an R-value of 1 per inch.
Walls can range from 250mm to 500mm thick. Generally for most applications, 300mm overall thickness will provide the best results from a thermal and acoustic performance perspective.
Fire tests on a 300mm thick hempcrete wall gave 73 minutes for structural adequacy/integrity/insulative capacity to fail.
Carbon Negative Material
Like other plant products by photosynthesis, hemp absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere as it grows, retaining the carbon and releasing the oxygen. This process is called carbon sequestration, and involves the capture of carbon and the long-term storage of atmospheric carbon dioxide. It has been proposed as a way to slow the atmospheric and marine accumulation of greenhouse gases.
Even when the hemp shiv is mixed with concrete (80-90% of hemcrete composition as hemp shiv), it is able to still sequester CO2. The lime-based binder absorbs carbon from the air continuously over time, petrifying the hemp shiv. Each tonne of lime-based hempcrete is estimated to absorb and sequester 249 kg of CO2 over a 100 year lifecycle. Generally, hempcrete is estimated to sequester 110kg per cubic meter (depending on transportation use) which means large-scaled projects have the capabilities of drawing tonnes of CO2 out of the atmosphere.
Less Energy Usage
Roughly 80% of the environmental impact of a building comes from the energy used, via air conditioners/heaters, during its life. Hempcrete houses are thermally efficient therefore homeowners and office workers will expend less energy during the building’s life of use.
For tropical climates where air conditioners are constantly used for long periods to combat the heat and humidity, a hempcrete house will dehumidify and cool down quickly without the need for the air conditioner to stay on. Due to its ability to absorb moisture from the air, hempcrete will stabilize the relative humidity for long periods without the need for air conditioning. For other climates where heaters are constantly used for long periods to combat the cold and damp, a hempcrete house will dehumidify and heat up quickly without the need for the heater to stay on.
Hempcrete is also a breathable porous fabric designed to pass water vapor but not liquid. Hempcrete walls need to “breathe” to ensure there is interaction with both the internal and external environment – this allows for the hempcrete to absorb/desorb water vapor (humidity) as well as the ability to buffer temperature fluctuations. Non breathable walls risk that that building will suffer the sick building syndrome or sweaty building syndrome, serious complications of water vapor being absorbed into the building not being able to be released.
One of the best things about hempcrete is that it is recyclable. Any waste on the building site can be reused in a mix or spread out as mulch. If a building made of hempcrete needs to be demolished, all the hempcrete can be recycled for a new mix. Hempcrete is an ideal building material where recyclability of building materials is a major factor. Unlike concrete, hempcrete doesn’t need huge machinery to break it up for reuse. It is able to be broken up by hand or use a hammer mill for large quantities – either method requires little energy.
Bedlivá, H. and Isaacs, N. (2014). Hempcrete – An Environmentally Friendly Material?. Advanced Materials Research, 1041, pp.83-86. https://doi.org/10.4028/www.scientific.net/AMR.1041.83
Goasdoue, M. (2017). Hempcrete.com.au: The Australian Hempcrete Technologists. [online] Hempcrete.com.au. Available at: http://www.hempcrete.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=23&Itemid=24 [Accessed 23 Sep. 2017].
Turnbull, S. (2017). High hopes for hemp in Australian building industry. [online] ABC News. Available at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-18/high-hopes-hemp-could-revolutionise-australian-building-industry/8954994 [Accessed 21 Sep. 2017].