MORE SUSTAINABLE BEHAVIORS ARE CENTRAL TO NOT ONLY SURVIVAL, BUT OUR QUALITY OF LIFE.
Mycologist - Scientist
We are all here for a short lifetime, yet the impact of our lives can be felt for generations to come. The Center for Ecological Consciousness (CEC) is conceived to bring scientists, educators, artists, and students together from different disciplines whose intersections of skills and studies can help create new solutions to our agricultural and ecological challenges.
The CEC supports initiatives that help us become more civil, responsible citizens of Earth, and create patterns that improve the quality of life for our descendants.
WE INVEST IN STRENGTHENING ECOLOGICAL SUSTAINABILITY AND RESILIENCE.
We have a robust menu of primary projects where the CEC funds will be directed towards. This preliminary list is not limited by those outlined here but are examples of interest centering around the agricultural practices that strengthen ecological sustainability and resiliency.
Biodiversity is biosecurity. Recent advances in science highlight the critical role fungi play in protecting biosecurity. Hence, mycodiversity protects biodiversity. With approximately 10% of mushroom species so far identified, about 15,000 in an estimated population of 150,000, and estimating that mushroom forming fungi represent only 10% of all fungi in a genome of more than 1,500,000 species, mycology is underfunded, under-utilized, and underestimated, considering their global impact on ecological health. The CEC will help fund young and seasoned mycologists to expand the knowledge of these important organisms.
The CEC is dedicated to supporting students and researchers by funding activities that can help strengthen bee health and biodiversity practices that helps bees – domesticated and wild. Bees are threatened worldwide because of multiple stressors. The most significant stressors identified so far include exposure to chemical toxins, loss of flowering plant diversity (‘pollination deserts’), viruses, bacteria, mites, and other pathogens. These are the currently considered primary factors that adversely impact bee health. All challenge and harm the immune systems of bees.
Forests and fungi are intimately interdependent. Some trees, like Douglas firs, may host more than a hundred species of fungi, collaboratively, during their life cycle. Forest ecosystems provide so much more benefits than just lumber. Forests sequester carbon, provide living libraries for educating young scientists, are reservoirs of genomic diversity and are essential for psychological health by nurturing nature-relatedness. Preserving mycodiversity and enhancing soil health with fungi is an area that the CEC has identified that needs substantially more financial and academic support than conventionally available.
A surprising talent that many saprophytic and endophytic fungi afford is their ability to break down toxins, natural and human-made. The extracellular enzymes they secrete digest an extraordinary array of toxins, with a particular knack for degrading hydrocarbons, which is the basis of many pesticides and herbicides. Additionally, fungi help create guilds of cooperating organisms, setting up collaborating mycobiomes / microbiomes that can help steer ecological recovery from toxic lands into lush, biodiverse, healthier ecosystems.
Fungi offer humans so many mycological solutions to the most urgent issues of our times. We are continually finding new applications and undoubtedly much more is yet to be discovered. For all of us who seek practical solutions that can scale, the evolutionary advantages that have helped fungi survive can help us heal the injuries we inflict on our ecosystem. The CEC will be open to novel approaches and fund ideas which are not addressed adequately with conventional agriculture and forest management practices. Aiding this effort is the acquisition and maintenance of a Culture Library of fungal strains, many of which are rare or endangered, accessible to current and next generation scientists.
The CEC recognizes that we are one people with many tribes – whose ancestral knowledge keepers must be respected and protected. Scientific technologies play an essential role in cultural preservation. Sharing knowledge gives all of us a better chance of building communities. Cross-cultural education with fungi as a hub of expertise brings people together, building bridges across cultures, continents, and centuries. Supporting and building upon ancient traditions will help protect these wells of knowledge. Knowledge always grows with respectful collaboration.
A Nexus for Nonprofit Organizations
Central to the success of the CEC is collaboration and connectivity with other nonprofits, whose missions align with supporting sustainable agricultural science efforts. This multidisciplinary approach will strengthen efforts worldwide and help spread the innovations that the CEC will discover, and also incorporate the discoveries of other environmentally focused organizations.
IN SERVICE OF BIODIVERSITY PROTECTION
As humans, we are struggling to find more sustainable solutions so we can better be in harmony with the ecosystems that sustain us. The Center for Ecological Consciousness (CEC) is conceived to bring scientists, educators, artists, and students together from different disciplines whose intersections of skills and studies can help create new solutions to our agricultural and ecological challenges.