Where’s the third ‘f’? We have flora and fauna. How about fungi!

Thank you. Australia’s national public broadcaster, through ABC RN’s Science Show, Saturday September 14th 2019 is bringing us the information we need to develop the knowledge we must have to make connections for the future.

A panel of mycologists, experts in the study of fungi, were in Adelaide at WOMADelaide in 2019, in our stunning Botanic Park that has celebrated the best of the World of Music, the Arts and Dance for decades. Here we had the vital connections in STEAM, not the, divisive STEM separated from HASS. With it came recognition of Aboriginal science. See my blog ‘Deadly Science and Dark Emu’*

I listened to Alison Pouliot of the ANU, author of The Allure of Fungi, published by the CSIRO. She posed the question that has become the title of this blog. The panellists are scientists sharing their knowledge with all at WOMADelaide. Here’s its title. You, too, can listen to their informative, engaging story now on  The Science Show.

Image: Is it time to look a little more closely at fungi for solutions to some of the world’s problems? (Pixabay: adege) Link to the larger image.

Magic Mushrooms: Can their mycelia give us safer plastic replacements? “Flora, fauna… and fungi! Our expert panellists, from Australia, USA and the UK, made clear at WOMADelaide they believe it is time for more attention to be paid to that third ‘F’, especially given fungi is a kingdom of species just like plants and animals. Fungi’s uses are staggering, from life-saving drugs to new building materials, greener plastics to helping grow new ears or organs.” Many farmers, we heard, are interested. They want to move away from industrialized agriculture.

In Tasmania, mycelia are being connected with architecture. Bio- bricks! Mycelia are the vegetative part of a fungus, consisting of a network of fine white filaments. (hyphae). [The role of fungi in trees is in Judi Dench’s documentary.]

Interconnections are needed all the time. Why are we so slow in making changes? Many corporations make billions from fossil fuels. How many keep their profits in tax havens? They lobby governments. They keep us in the dark. America’s President has just provided $100 million to the Brazilian government. The US Secretary of State says it’s to fund private approaches in their Amazon Forest.

Trees need fungi: fungi need trees. We need the bio diversity they foster.

The Many Ways of Diversity: the Same and Not the Same, is the title of the address given by Nobel Laureate Professor Roald Hoffmann when he received the Inaugural Primo Levi Prize in Germany for his work connecting the sciences, particularly chemistry, with the humanities in 2017. See my first blog. Thank you Roald Hoffmann* Roald Hoffmann contributed poetry and prose to Challenging the Divide: Approaches to Science and Poetry, launched by Robyn Williams at the South Australian State Library in 2010.

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