Sunday, May 29, 2011

Help me help mushrooms save the world!

Hello friend (and friends of friends),

I hope this message finds you in good health and high spirits. This is a personal appeal explaining something I’m putting my energy towards. I want
to give you the opportunity to learn about it and support it however you are able. Thanks
for reading.

You might have heard that mushrooms can help save the world. With your help I can work with mushrooms (and other amazing humans) this summer to help clean up oil pollution in Ecuador. I'm trying to raise $1000 to support this solution in the Amazon. Please read on to learn more. Any amount of support is helpful.

My name is Martin (marty) Dagoberto Driggs. Some of you know me as an outspoken proponent for environmental justice and the conscious evolution of our species. I am honored to be alive with each of you in this time of unprecedented change, complete with its daunting challenges and revolutionary solutions. Along my path as an Earth Activist, I have encountered this emerging culture of “solutionaries” who give me renewed hope for the future. I am hoping you, too, will share my excitement and offer your support.

Solutionaries are now at work in the Ecuadorian Amazon, where indigenous peoples of the once-pristine rainforest are living with the aftermath of decades of corporate abuse. Over a 30 year period, Texaco (now owned by Chevron) intentionally discharged over 18 billion gallons of toxic oil waste into hundreds of unlined pits. As a result, birth defects and cancer rates are extremely high in local communities. Chevron has recently been found guilty after an 18 year long court battle, but the corporation still refuses to pay to clean up its mess. While Chevron avoids responsibility, an international (and inter-species) alliance is working to heal the damaged earth.

The Amazon Mycorenewal Project (AMP) is a ground-healing effort to apply recent advances in mushroom science (mycology) to actively break down toxic organic compounds found in the polluted Amazon (a process called “mycoremediation”). Amazingly, mushrooms have the ability to break down the most persistent toxic organic pollutants: long-chained hydrocarbons, PCB's, oil, dioxins and even TNT – mushrooms eat them for breakfast (and break them into less harmful compounds, like water, carbon dioxide, and fungal mass). Although it's been proven in the lab, there have been limited real-world applications.

I have been asked to join this team of scientists and advocates from the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Ecuador this summer to help develop and apply methods of mycoremediation to clean up oil pollution in the Ecuadorian Amazon. As an intern with the program, I'm able to contribute my formal scientific educational background in biotechnology and my perspective, skills and passion as an environmental activist. After th
is experience, I will be able to take my new skills and partnerships back to New Bedford, where mushrooms can help break down cancer-causing PCB's.

Everyone involved with the project is a volunteer, and we all pay our own airfare to Ecuador. I will be reallocating my current savings to seize this opportunity to contribute my energy to this cause. Interns also contribute and raise funds to help pay for the program and research materials costs. I am hoping that my extended networks of positive world-changers will be able to help support this work and defray my personal cost. My goal is $1000.

Donations in any amount will help. Tax-deductible donations can be made through the AMP's parent organization, the Cloud Forest Institute (link, below). Please be sure to add indicate that the donation is designated for "The AMP c/o Martin Driggs" so that it makes it to my fund.

Please let me know if you are able to support these efforts in any way (including ways beyond money) by emailing me at mdriggs.amp[at] Thank you for your support.

Also, for those in the Boston area, on Tuesday June 14th at 8p I will facilitate a discussion/short film screening on mycoremediation and the Amazon Mycorenewal Project, hosted by Evolver Boston and Music Ecology (a weekly future dance music showcase at the Wonder Bar in Allston.) I invite you to join us to learn more about the project, connect with other local solutionaries, and enjoy some local electronic music. (facebook event page)

Wherever you are and for everything you're doing. Thank you.
I am grateful for the opportunity to co-create with you this transformative culture of healing.

With Hope, Love and Gratitude,

Martin (marty) Dagoberto Driggs

Links and Videos!:

Amazon Mycorenewal Project

“A Solution to Pollution - Mycoremediation in the Ecuadorian Amazon”, short film by Nicola Peel

“Crude”, acclaimed feature documentary by Joe Berlinger (trailer)

ChevronToxico (Amazon Watch, campaign page)

Paul Stamets TED Talk: 6 Ways Mushrooms Can Save the World