We all share the common desire to leave the Earth a better place for our children and for future generations. The problems of pollution and environmental degradation can sometimes seem so vast that it’s hard to know where to start. What can we do?
We can show our children that we care about their future, and the future of their children’s children, by actively participating in clever and innovative solutions to restore health to the Planet. The Life Box® is one solution.
All my life, I have loved watching life emerge. Knowing that all plants are part fungi and that fungi are essential for our food webs, I started to experiment with combining seeds and mycorrhizal fungal spores and was astonished by the results. The mycorrhized plants surged in their growth compared to the same plants without mycorrhizae. The mycorrhizal mycelium enhances the root nutrient-aborption zone of plants by hundreds of times. Knowing the benefits of marrying plants and fungi, and that deforestation is exacerbating climate change, I focused my attention on the roles of fungi in forest ecosystems.
While growing many wood-decomposing mushrooms, my friends and I discovered the ‘wonders of cardboard’ for growing mycelium. Silky, diverging forks of mycelium would happily race down the valleys within the folds of corrugated cardboard. Having myco-mulched with cardboard for many years, I realized that cardboard could become a growth medium for encouraging communities of fungi and plants symbiotically working together. Then, the epiphany hit me like a lightning bolt. Why not re-invent the cardboard box so each box becomes a designed ecosystem? The Life Box was the result.
Within the corrugated walls of a Life Box, tree seeds intermingle with millions of spores of mycorrhizal fungi, forming a tree-nursery-in-waiting. When it has outlived its usefulness as a box, it can be torn up and planted, and begin anew as a platform for the growth of nascent trees.
Why use a Life Box?
Once delivered, a regular cardboard box dies at your doorstep, so to speak. The conventional brown box serves only the purpose of delivering a product. And then, at best, it is recycled. The Life Box is not just a box: it is a teaching tool that unfolds into a continuing, life-long experience. It empowers individuals with the ability to sequester carbon by planting trees and making a positive difference. The Life Box has ‘legs’, or more aptly trees, which will remind the receiver for years to come of their own environmental awareness, and that of the company who shipped it. The shared experience of everyone involved builds a community of those trying to help the planet with a long-lasting and sustainable solution to climate change.
The Life Box may become a palette, a template for eco-artisans and architects to help re-green the planet. The Tree Life Box uses trees approved by every state in the United States that regulates tree movement, and are approved for export to Canada. All species embedded within the Life Box are native to the continental US and Canada and are non-invasive. We plan to expand the Life Box line of products to include wild flowers, vegetables, grasses and herbs within boxes, padded envelopes, egg cartons and a wide variety of packaging materials.
by Paul Stamets