Climate Crusader–Monica Jahan Bose, Mushrooms to Rescue us from Plastic,!

by | Mar 31, 2023 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Meet climate crusader–Monica Jahan Bose, plus Mushrooms to rescue us from plastic, and!



Did you know that almost 30% of all plastic waste is polystyrene plastic—you know all those Styrofoam doohickeys?! I wondered online if there are  “natural alternatives to Styrofoam.” It turns out there are biotechnologists at the Technical University of Berlin who are hoping to answer that very question. They’ve come up with a possibly ingenious solution to replacing the Styrofoam in bicycle helmets with…mushrooms!

Mushrooms are a type of fungus. Fungus is composed of two main structures, the above-ground mushroom cap, and the below-ground mycelium.  Uncovered, mycelia may appear as thin and wispy as dental floss. However, like dental floss, mycelia are strong and versatile. Mycelia grow in, through and around just about any organic substrate. Whether it’s leaves or mulch, mycelia digest these natural materials and can also bind everything together in a cohesive mat. And these mats can be grown in molds, such as those that might make a packing carton, or say, a bike helmet.

Several teams of biotechnologists around the world are racing to bring fungus-based products to market. And that matters because he all-natural products, they have no allergy concerns and are completely non-toxic. They are also more UV-stable than foam since they are not petrochemical-based, and won’t emit volatile organic compounds. More impressive is the fact that they’re also fire resistant, and just as water resistant as Styrofoam. Unlike Styrofoam, they won’t clog landfills for eternity. When exposed to the right microbes, they will break down in 180 days in any landfill or backyard.

DEEPER DIVE:,,, Ecovative



Oh my Dad. Talk about the ultimate in climate change warrior wonkiness. There is an actual cadre of legal experts who track climate change litigation. It’s called — started back in 2007 as the U.S. Climate Litigation Chart by attorneys Michael B. Gerrard (a former partner at Arnold & Porter,among the most prestigious and largest law firms in the world) and J. Cullen Howe, an environmental law specialist. is a joint project of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School and Arnold & Porter. has since evolved into TWO databases that track climate change litigation, one for cases in the U.S. and beginning in 2011, a chart for non-U.S. cases. also tracks developments in litigation and administrative proceedings related to climate change.

Here’s why matters to us: Its U.S. chart currently includes 1387 cases* with links to 7513 case documents. The Non-U.S. chart currently includes 439 cases, with links to 695 case documents. And it’s updated monthly.

DEEPER DIVE: ClimateCaseChart, Wikipedia, Ivy Style



I recently shared the good news with a colleague that we’d been awarded a Ford Foundation grant to expand The Climate Daily podcast into a longer format version, and she said to me, “You’ve got to meet my friend Monica Jahan Bose. She’s doing big things with Bangladeshi women severely impacted by climate change.”

Monica Jahan Bose is an attorney/artist/activist. Of the many things worth getting to know about Monica, it’s worth noting her service on the board of Samhati, (Solidarity in Bengali)  a US-based Bangladeshi women’s organization that creates small projects focused on ecology and literacy to empower poor women in Bangladesh. It currently runs the Samhati Katakhali Project.

Katakhali is a small island, 25 miles long but only two miles wide. Since 2000, it’s been repeatedly rocked by cyclones (what hurricanes are called in the Southern Hemisphere) and sea level rise. These two have salinated the soil and reduced the availability of fish in the ocean and adjacent rivers.  

The Katakhali Project teaches Bangladeshi women on the island village of Katakhali literacy and hands-on skills like climate change adaptation farming, fishing and resilience skills.

Why the the Samhati Katakhali project matters to us are the valuable lessons gleaned from the women of Katakhali’s body of experience stemming from the application of climate change adaptation techniques taught in project’s farming and fish-cultivation classes. The failures and successes learned by the Katakhali women in getting to improved health of the villagers and their adaptation to food diversification is data worth disseminating around the globe. After all, coastal and island lowlands around the world all will be equally impacted by sea level rise and storm-related flooding.

DEEPER DIVE: Storytelling with Saris