The rainforest hums. Tiny feet pitter-patter over wet leaves. In the warm nights animals sing erotic serenades. Life is abundant and competition is fierce. Trees race to reach the canopy, choking out their competition. The fallen quickly rot and rejoin the soil. These hot, wet climates host most of Earth’s species. This rivalry inspires living things to adorn themselves with bright colors. They spread seeds in sweet fruit. They display beauty in movement, color and sound. They protect themselves with piercing points and with poison. This is where you can find some of the most chemically active plants and animals. You can also find intensity of decay.
Leaves spread out evenly across a forest floor will turn into mulch at a consistent rate. If you rake those same leaves into a pile and cover them to retain moisture, they will get hot from all the microbial activity. In some instances, they can get so hot that they catch fire.
Heat in the human body comes from external radiation and from internal metabolism. In either case the effects on the body are similar. The human body responds to heat by increasing circulation and sweating. By bringing the blood to the periphery of the body it can easily release heat into the outside environment. This decrease in resistance causes a drop in blood pressure. Its like having your thumb on a hose to get it to spray further and then suddenly taking your thumb off. The spray quickly becomes a drizzle. The same thing happens with heat. The increased size of the blood vessels and additional areas for circulation causes a drop in blood pressure. This is part of the reason that heat can make people feel tired. In this overbearing heat it is difficult to get out and exercise or even think strait. Many black men are more prone to high blood pressure. This could be a heat adaptation allowing them to work through intense heat. In intense heat most people lose their appetites. This is because your body wants to the reduce caused by metabolism to prevent overheating. Heat generally manifests with red eyes, thirst, and dark urine. It is associated with skin rashes, lesions, and irritability. One of the key signs of systemic heat is inflammation.
In the desert, heat can be deadly. The way to make yourself comfortable is to consume substances that help your internal environment stay cool. I once met a Bedouin man from Egypt. He described how his people could survive with little water: Continue reading →
“Fungi are the grand recyclers of the planet and the vanguard species in habitat restoration.”
– Paul Stamets
Fungi are critical to plant life and the overall health of a forest. They break down dead matter and help life to spring anew. They are at once some of largest organisms on the planet and among the smallest.
Fungi are diverse and can eat a wide range toxic materials. Some consume heavy metals, plastic, and toxic waste. After the tragic nuclear fallout in Chernobyl radiotrophic fungi began to restore the environment. They used their pigment melanin to convert radiation into chemical energy.
Fungi are capable or restoring order in ways we are just beginning to understand. They are among the more chemically active substances on our planet. The right fungi can serve as medicines, while having the wrong ones can make you hallucinate or even prove to be fatal. They are powerful and prolific. Their spores are everywhere. Continue reading →