Mushrooms may be most famous for their pizza prowess and psychedelic strains, but Paul Stamets, renowned mycologist and mushroom enthusiast, has much loftier visions for everyone's favorite fungi. He believes that the solution to some of the world's biggest problems lies in mushroom farming.

More specifically he posits that—mycelium, the tight network of filaments out of which mushrooms grow—are our key to a cleaner planet. Oyster Mushrooms, for example, are extremely effective at breaking down toxic waste and capturing E. coli. By dispersing their mycelium, says Stamets, we could reduce the toxicity of industrial waste while growing food in the process.

According to Stamet, these organic growths may be the perfect solution to our man-made mess: "Mushrooms respond to catastrophic events, and we're the biggest walking catastrophe that I know of." [Focus Forward Films]