Who, What and Why; The International Peace Day
Established by the UN General Assembly back in 1981, The International Day of Peace was created to recognise and celebrate the work and efforts of those across the globe that fight to promote peace and end conflicts. In 2001, the General Assembly further bolstered the purpose of this day by unanimous vote, that on the day of the 21st September, every year, “a period of non violence and cease-fire” will be held in all member states, no matter the current affair or situation. The UN hopes that all nations and peoples honour the period and use the time to promote education and awareness around any and all issues related to peace. This years theme is “Climate Action for Peace”, the goal being to bring attention to what is undeniably the greatest issue to face mankind to date, the current destruction and decay of our world’s climate and ecological balance.
How are Fungi fighting for the planet?
In regards to this battle, Fungi carry one of the heaviest burdens on the planet acting as the chief decomposer of biological material on our great green earth (and some non-biological material). Through this fungi provide key nutrients, namely phosphorus, a somewhat rare and hard to find chemical in nature necessary for plant photosynthesis, as well as stability to many ecological systems of plant and aquatic life as well as providing for other top decomposers such as worms or snails. Furthermore, to highlight the importance of fungi to our climate, it is understood that the original oxygenation of our planet, the reaction that allowed plant flora and the rest of us to flourish, was in fact enabled by symbiotic relationships between fungi and plants in a process called “mycorrhiza” whereby plants generally provide carbon for the fungus and in return the fungus may provide more nutrients, drought resistance and pathogen defence.
Let’s celebrate Fungi!
So fungi hold an almost godly level of influence over our planet and their contributions to the entirety of life on earth are vast but still there is more potential for fungi as we are constantly discovering new species with new functions such as the plastic eating variant mentioned above. Henceforth this international day of peace shouldn’t just be about the obvious issues of worldwide peace and climate change, but also about celebrating the unsung heroes such as Fungi who quietly go about their job making the world a more habitable place and they usually don’t ask for anything more than a dark damp space to live in return.