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Psychedelics for Climate Action – Let’s Mushroom this Movement

What do psychedelics and climate action have in common? Our climate crisis calls for creative solutions now more than ever. For the past year, I’ve been collaborating with a catalytic community, raising and expanding consciousness to discover pathways forward. 300 people came out for our most recent event,  Meet the Psychedelic-Climate Leaders, which featured 17 speakers. Moving through the mycelial phase, our psychedelic-climate society is already attracting media attention and may take root in a city near you.

As mushrooms grow slowly but spread exponentially, you may already be seeding such relationships in your towns and cities. If not, you can begin organically. We started with my email list of environmental enthusiasts, foraged more connections through our WhatsApp group, spawned a budding Instagram, sprouted a new website and a directory to map our ecosystem (join here), and gathered donations of event space from artists Roger Wu, Vexta and social club CX, formerly known as Secret. We are now in daily communication, tracking eco-psychedelic opportunities for people to discover different approaches and support the pioneers doing the work at this intersection.

It’s been refreshing to blend the narratives of these two ecosystems with this incredible collective effort. Anyone who has experienced the power of psychedelics can describe a feeling of oneness with all beings. Can we integrate this awareness and maintain unity with Mother Earth, acknowledging she is part of us too? “From a spiritual perspective, we hear all the time that ‘We are all connected. We are all one,’” says Rei Chou, a dear friend and “reformed changemaker.” In her podcast, she asks, “But what if we actually understood ourselves that way? What would it mean for how we create change? How we understand ourselves as the planet we are here to care for? How we connect with each other across spacial, personal, and ecological divides?” 

Read on to hear more about the learnings and findings at our most recent event, and what’s next for us. You can host this dialog and support the change makers in your locale or reach out for support to drive these narratives and actions forward. 

Psychedelics for Climate Action (Photo credit: Kervin Perez)
(Photo credit: Kervin Perez)

Compassion & Regeneration

As we look at the requirements of leaders to guide our future, from large-scale organizations to local governments, compassion is a fundamental value. “The prevailing attunement of our culture – characterized by disconnection from others and nature – has given rise to the extractive behaviors whose systemic consequences we now face,” says Bennet Zelner, a University of Maryland professor working at the intersection of regenerative economics, leadership, and psychedelics. “Tackling climate change requires a shift in attunement to one that recognizes the intrinsic interconnectedness of all things and beings, and the mutuality of the relationships supporting life.” According to Zelner, this is the motivation for the Connected Leadership Study, which examines the effects of psychedelic experiences on decision-making by organizational leaders. Applications are open for a four-month experiential leadership program centered around a six-day psilocybin-assisted retreat in the Netherlands, with an opportunity to participate in this pioneering research with Zelner and his academic colleague Rachelle Sampson.

“To heal nature, we need to start with ourselves,” says impact storyteller and brand strategist Anna Konstantinova on Climate Microdose. “If you’re depressed or in a bad mental space, there’s no way that you can pour from an empty cup to help others and the planet as well.” To integrate psychedelic healing, organizations like the Psychedelic Assembly, Brooklyn Psychedelic Society, Nushama, and MAPS (which hosted an eco-psychedelic day at their Psychedelic Science conference last year) foster a culture of openness, holding space for personal growth in community. 

Psychedelic Thinking and  Remembering We Are Nature

“Today’s polycrisis demands comprehensive and collaborative solutions, as each challenge exacerbates the others, creating a complex web of interrelated problems… there are four ways psychedelics affect cognitive thinking,” says Ross Sullivan, Co-Founder & Interim Executive Director of the  Sustainable Futures Institute. “It can be characterized by enhanced feelings of interconnectedness, nature relatedness, enhanced cognitive flexibility, and the ability to navigate intensity while preserving agency. In a world of uncertainty, embracing tools that foster adaptive thinking and deepened connections is imperative.” Sullivan’s  perspective is reminiscent of “ego to eco,” a popular study by Hannes Kettner, Sam Gandy, Eline C. H. M. Haijen, and Robin L. Carhart-Harris. This research offers “findings that point to the potential of psychedelics to induce enduring positive changes in the way humans relate to their natural environments.” 

After our Meet the Psychedelic-Climate Leaders event, Sullivan wrote another piece, “Humanity: An Inherent Nature.” In this essay, he notes that “‘nature relatedness’ and ‘connection with nature,’ often evoke images of humans standing apart from the natural world, attempting to forge bonds with something external.… fundamentally misinterpreting the essence of our humanity and our relationship with reality. In reality, humanity is not separate from nature; rather, we are an integral part of it. Thus, the notions of nature-relatedness and connection with nature are substantially false, as they imply a disconnection that does not truly exist.” In his reflections, Sullivan poses important questions about these fundamental truths.

Psychedelic Play

During our Meet the Psychedelic-Climate Leaders event, a satirical character named Shaman Sam, played by, dig differently co-founder Joe Leone, observed  that “Creativity is human nature’s psychedelic.”  Shaman Sam goes on to say that “This isn’t about climate change, it’s people change.” A psychedelic, science, and climate comedy trend is rising, with people like Shane Mauss educating while entertaining and riffing on topics like dung beetles. Mauss is joined by other psychedelically informed comedians such as Sarah Rose Siskind and Matt Ruby. There is a Climate Comedy Collective as part of Climate Cafe. Perhaps these comedians will perform at an upcoming event. As Benjamin Nathan of All Of Us Films has said, some of his most successful environmental campaigns have used humor. 

Many of us can shut down and look to change the channel when we hear how dire things have become with climate change. If we can laugh, we can engage people to open their hearts and minds to new perspectives, using play as a pathway for change. 

Expanded Consciousness 

“While perceived as passive, mindfulness meditation is a superpower that makes our fight for climate change that much stronger,” says Nitin P Ron, MD, FAAP, baby doctor, TED speaker, author, neuroscience researcher, and Mt. Everest expedition physician. “We have the superpower of staying calm under pressure and being kind, loving, and compassionate.” Accessing inner peace in an era of eco-anxiety – such as when the sky turned orange last June – will be vital.

Our ability to take collective action as climate citizens will also be critical, whether in a supportive or leadership role. Isadora Tang, co-founder of Climate Hang, asks, “What happens when a collective group of people have a shared intention and an ineffable experience together? Whether you consider yourself a leader or not, we are all force multipliers.” 

Psychedelics for Climate Action (Photo credit: Kervin Perez)

Reconciling our Past and Reimagining our Future

“As we take these medicines out of their contextual and historical origins, how do we ensure we’re doing this respectfully, honoring and protecting the people and places of origin?” asks Angie King, Sr. Development Manager & Brazilianist, at the Amazon Conservation Team (ACT). “Intrinsic to the power of these plant medicines are the living value systems and ancestral wisdom of indigenous communities and the standing forests from which these medicines come.”

See Also

“We need to explore new directions like degrowth, mutualism, and participatory democracy,” says Daniel Pinchbeck, author of Breaking Open the Head, 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl and How Soon Is Now, among other books. “We must engineer a deeper level of systems change to survive as a species. Collapse is probably not avoidable at this point, but we can still start to envision and build a post-capitalist reality rooted in mutualism, for a more fragile planet.”

Biomimicry and  Society

Other thinkers are reflecting on the role of biomimicry. “We can cultivate a symbiotic relationship between nature and communities, similar to the mycelial bonds that strengthen and sustain a forest’s ecosystem,” says Tali Orad, Founder and CEO of “When we intertwine our branches with mycelium and community, we grow unimaginably. Let’s think of how we can be that mushroom in a human forest and try to be a little bit more of a mushroom to a tree.”

How will we balance the tension between the swift action needed for the climate crisis and the mycelial pace of nature? At our Psychedelics for Climate Action (PSYCA) events, new solutions and ideas are raised for collaborative dialog and consideration. We spotlight psychedelic-climate leaders to support, contributing to their climate action by sharing ways to join them. Over time, we will map new conscious pathways and creative courses of action. This is just the beginning for us, and it’s thrilling to see our group growing like fungi. 

We are marking our one-year anniversary since our first event, The Intersection of Environmental, Social + Psychedelic Consciousness at The Thought Experience x ChaShaMa. Join our official Psychedelics for Climate Action Launch, which will include a meditation for climate action. The gathering will take place at the Psychedelic Assembly in New York City on May 28 in partnership with Nocturnal Medicine, a nonprofit studio for climate consciousness and  cultural transformation. The event will feature Paul D. Miller, aka DJ Spooky, a composer, multimedia artist, and author whose work engages audiences in a blend of genres, global culture, environmental and social issues. Bennet Zelner will also talk about how we can attune ourselves for systems change. With values-aligned event partners, we will have My Purple Lady gummies available for people who want to enhance their experience with legal plant mood enhancers blue lotus and amanita mushroom. Non-alcoholic drinks from Curious Elixirs will be available and bites from local, vegan Gotcha Focaccia. We are looking forward to more gatherings that coincide with the launch of our official membership, so stay tuned. 

From regenerative agriculture to renewable energy, sustainable transportation, and more, we have some of the best solutions at our fingertips. And yet we need more participation to address the roots of our present environmental problems. Is a shift in collective consciousness what we need to change behavior? Let’s collaborate and find out.

With more programming, from awareness-raising to fundraising; we will track the impact of our efforts to support initiatives at this intersection. We will spotlight and support the inspirational work of these organizations and thereby help to expand these growing psychedelic-climate actions.  We will serve this collective through working groups and climate-action integration circles, by highlighting tools and resources that grow and develop the psychedelic-climate ecosystem. Our mission is to get behind people, organizations, and initiatives building new models and unprecedented pathways. Reach out to be part of this network or share what’s happening where you take root. We are also open to values-aligned partners who want to seed this journey with us. Contact us to get involved. 

[Editor’s note: This story was assigned and first edited by Ken Jordan, the late co-founder and Editorial Director of Lucid News. Final edits were completed by Managing Editor Ann Harrison who, together with the Lucid News staff, dedicates this story to Ken and his vision of psychedelic and environmental healing.] 

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