Reality Studies
Urgent Futures with Jesse Damiani
Danielle Stevenson: Using Mushrooms to Heal Polluted Places | Urgent Futures Ep. 12

Danielle Stevenson: Using Mushrooms to Heal Polluted Places | Urgent Futures Ep. 12

🎙 Strap in for this one! Jesse chats with scientist, mycologist, & educator Danielle Stevenson to discuss the politics of pollution, the role fungi can play in returning life to toxic sites, & more

Welcome to the Urgent Futures podcast, the show that finds signal in the noise. Each week, I sit down with leading thinkers whose research, concepts, and questions clarify the chaos, from culture to the cosmos.

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My guest this week is Danielle Stevenson

Danielle Stevenson is a multidisciplinary scientist, mycologist and environmental problem-solver who works with soils, fungi, plants and people to address wastes and pollution in creative and circular ways. She holds a Bachelors of Humanities from the University of Victoria and a PhD in Environmental Toxicology from the University of California Riverside. Her dissertation research focused on bioremediation of brownfields with fungi and plants. She also founded and runs D.I.Y. Fungi (est. 2012) for research, education and action around fungal food, medicine, waste management and remediation, and Healing City Soils (est. 2015) with the Compost Education Centre to provide soil metal testing, resources, and community bioremediation for people growing food.

She currently serves on the Department of Toxic Substances Control's Equitable Community Revitalization Grant (ECRG) Treatment Technology Council (TTC) and the Board of Corenewal. She is involved in many projects and organizations around the world supporting regeneration of lands and waters, environmental education and community-capacity building. Learn more about her work here: and and connect over:

She is publishing a forthcoming book on mycoremediation, so be sure to check her website and sign up for the listserve for updates and to support her work.

Wow, this conversation with Danielle was so illuminating—and, in its way super hopeful. As I’ve mentioned before, I take the “urgent” in the title of Urgent Futures broadly—it doesn’t have to indicate a blaring alarm. There can be urgent play, imagination, and comedy, for example. But in this case there really is a blaring alarm: pollution is a major threat, and as Danielle discusses, it just doesn’t seem to get as much attention as some other climate change issues. I’m fascinated by possibilities of fungi for bioremediation—for bringing life back into contaminated sites, especially through Danielle’s focus in “mycoremediation.” Danielle is one of the leading minds working in this arena. These types of solutions show why ecological approaches to crisis hold so much more potential than trying to build a magical quick fix.

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CREDITS: This podcast is edited and produced by Adam Labrie and me, Jesse Damiani. Adam Labrie also directed, shot, and edited the video version of the podcast, which is available on YouTube. The podcast is presented by Reality Studies. If you appreciate the work I’m doing, please subscribe and share it with someone you think would enjoy it.

Find more episodes of Urgent Futures at: Past conversations include Taylor Lorenz, Lia Halloran & Kip Thorne, Cherie Hu, Lisa Messeri, Legacy Russell, and more.

Reality Studies
Urgent Futures with Jesse Damiani
Welcome to the Urgent Futures Podcast, the show that finds signal in the noise. Each episode, I sit down with leading thinkers for dialogues that clarify the chaos, from culture to the cosmos.