Today I would like to introduce you to the One Earth Film Festival taking place in Chicago for the last 10 years. But now you can of course access it all online. (PS. ‘Fantastic Fungi’ currently available on Netflix).
The festival took place in March and this year they have shown such films as ‘Public Trust: The Fight for America’s Public Lands’ and ‘Fantastic Fungi: The Magic Beneath Us’ among others. Both Environmental and One Earth Films Festivals have events all year long and it is worth checking their websites and subscribing to their newsletters. I mentioned the film ‘Public Trust’ last week because it touches on the similar subject as ‘The New West’ discussed in my last post. Here however we look not only at Nevada but all public lands in America and the force trying to privatize them behind which stand the oil and gas industries lobbyists.
Most of the public lands in America are in the West of the country and they cover not only National Parks but also national forests or wildlife refugees and very often were indigenous’ people lands, stolen from them by the American government. They are managed in trust by the federal government but because these lands are very rich in various minerals and goods desired by different companies, they are constantly under attack. Unlike other films that I choose to write about, this one doesn’t end on the positive note. But because things has changed for the better since the film was finished last year, I do feel that there is some hope there now.
In ‘Fantastic Fungi’ we follow Paul Stamets and other mycologists who tell us more about the kingdom of mushrooms. Nature recycles everything and mushrooms are a big part of this process. They create mycelium underground which is like a huge brain with connected networks of branches. Trees are communicating and sharing information using mycelium. The film also talks about magic mushrooms and their possible role in the evolution of humans. Many mushrooms serve as medicine and penicillin, made of mold, kills bacteria and works as a antibiotics. Fungi could help fighting epidemics and pandemics.
Studies on psychedelics were popular in the 1950s and 1960s with very promising findings in fighting alcoholism among other things. But then the government started the war on drugs because young people taking them were not willing to fight a war or work in a corporation and the whole base of the society was shaken. The studies were stopped and even erased from the history of psychiatry. In the end of 1990 some of the studies were reactivated after over 20 years of being dormant. Now we know that they can be helpful in fighting cancer and other serious chronic diseases. We should study fungi more and look for resolutions of many of our current problems including climate change. Mushrooms can clean contained environment, for example after an oil spill, and regenerate it.