Laudation Merlin Sheldrake Groeneveld award 2022 Dirk Sijmons (on behalf of the Groeneveld Foundation) Here we arrive at one of the main reasons to award you with the 2022 Groeneveld prize. We are convinced that we will desperately need these new kinds of empathy with the living nature as a whole to heal our wounded planet. In a way you translated Fungi-language into English (and that was brilliantly translated into Dutch by Nico Groen) that we face the challenge of translating our wishes into fungi language. In other words, we don’t have to limit ourselves to the admiring gaze of post-humanism, but deeper understanding of the fungal word offers the potential to translate back from human language into fungi talk and see whether fungi can help to address problems we face as a human society. You call that ‘radical mycology’ and offer an informed look into the future of how fungi can help us change our mind literary. And, very practical, how fungi by myco-sanitation can help us get rid of – toxic and plastic (!) waste. Moreover how mycelium might become a promising building material. Fungi helped making the world and can also help saving the world. Does that sound outlandish? Please allow me a little sidestep. For the architects in the audience: an article in Nature of 2021 showed that the total weight of the built environment, the weight we added in the last 7.000 years surpassed the total weight of the biomass of the planet. And most alarming that this weight is about to triple before 2040 . It sounds a bit Malthusian, but it is the consequence of living in the Anthropocene’s Great Acceleration and the almost exponential growth of cities in Asia, South America and especially Africa. The map from the Atlas to the End of the World by Richard Weller shows that the places where urbanization will go viral coincide with the biodiversity hotspots of the world. Not only from the angle of natural resources but also from the angle of conservation of biodiversity it is very urgent that we tap from a completely different vessel. This is where radical mycology may be an alternative. You see a new branch of building material research at TU-Delft, ETH Zürich and the design academy in Eindhoven experimenting with mycelium not just as isolation material but as structural building elements. Possibly we will grow our future cities instead of building them with extracted material. ‘Entangled life’ has been acclaimed all over the world, has since been translated into many languages, there even is a strip version now, your galvanic currents will produce a musical version soon I’m sure and it has even inspired our star designer Iris van Herpen’s spring collection. We are a bit latish in our appreciation, but we comfort ourselves that the Nobel prize is also famously late: one already almost forgot what contribution to science one made and then the phone rings showing a Swedish number on your screen. The Groeneveld foundation earned its endowment funds with Forestry and not with the production of gunpowder, so our prize money is proportional lower I’m afraid. Merlin, may I invite you to address this curious and knowledge hungry audience.

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