April is a Triple-Threat of Psychedelic Holidays
But could it also be that April is also the month to open your mind? You might have noticed — there’s no other month that has as many psychedelic holidays as the fourth month of the year. Bicycle Day — celebrating the discovery of LSD — on the 19th, 4/20 — celebrating all things marijuana — on the 20th, and Earth Day — the day to honor and advocate for our planet — on the 22nd.
Earth Day – The Most Psychedelic of Days
You might at first think you see an odd-one-out. Earth Day? How is that psychedelic? Well, we reckon in terms of holidays, Earth Day is as psychedelic as they come. For a start, it was conceived in 1970, coming straight off the back of the hippie heyday of the late 1960s. During this period, a new generation had become emboldened to fight for their rights. Whether it was the anti-war movement, civil rights, or gender equality, striving for a better world was at the forefront of many people’s minds. And, there was another thing on people’s, or in, people’s minds: psychedelics.
The hippie movement and the psychedelic era will always be intertwined. The philosophies, art, and music of the 1960s were deeply influenced by the mind-opening qualities of psychoactive substances such as magic mushrooms and LSD. Of course, the world was ready for change, after the gloom of two World Wars. But the traits of kindness, openness, creativity and kinship with nature, associated with the hippies of the time, are also the traits fostered by the psychedelic experience. See? Intertwined as they come.
Real Environmental Issues Inspired Earth Day
The first Earth Day was inspired by a series of environmental disasters, including the 1969 Union Oil well spill in California. Broadcast across America on TV, viewers at home were able to see the 200,000 gallons of oil aflame on the surface of the Cuyahoga River in Ohio. This new visibility spurred on what would turn into the modern environmental movement.
Earth Day is a day set aside to both acknowledge the achievements of the environmental movement, as well as to honor the Earth itself. Everything starts and ends for us, and all living creatures, with this blue planet. (Putting a pin in any alien theories for the moment!) We have nothing if we don’t have the Earth.
How Psychedelics Remind Us to Love Nature
And again, today it is psychedelics that are helping people to remember that. Recent studies have found concrete links between psychedelic-usage and feelings of connection with nature.
These include a 2017 online population study by Forstmann, which surveyed almost 1500 participants, titled Lifetime experience with (classic) psychedelics predicts pro-environmental behavior through an increase in nature relatedness, as well as a 2019 study by a research team at Imperial College London titled From Egoism to Ecoism: Psychedelics Increase Nature Relatedness in a State-Mediated and Context-Dependent Manner. Both of these studies found a positive correlation between pro-environmental behavior and psychedelic use.
Could Wider Psychedelic Use Help the Environment?
‘Ego death’ or ‘ego dissolution’, an experience that can be caused by psychedelics, such as magic mushrooms (at high doses) can also increase empathy and kinship with nature. Those who experience ego death report feeling a deeper, often spiritual or primordial, connection with the world, and creation. In 2016, this phenomenon was finally made visible. In a groundbreaking study, fifteen volunteers were given a dose of LSD and then had fMRI brain images taken. The results found that “increased global functional connectivity” — i.e. increased connections in different regions of the brain — was the physical evidence for the experience of ego-death.
Many theorize that if (responsible) psychedelic usage became more widespread and normalized, the environmental cause would be enhanced. As historians Isserman and Kazin once stated, ”LSD made it possible to have a decent conversation with a tree.”
Joking aside however, in today’s fast paced, technology-fueled world it is easy to forget the importance of nature. Acknowledging its vitality, and its need for care, is paramount to healing the destruction that has been wreaked upon the Earth. Psychedelics could be the key that unlocks this connection.
Nature is a Trip
In many ways, nature is the biggest trip of all. These crazy plants, trees, and animals in all their crazy forms. Ever sat there and just thought — why does a bee look like that? Or eaten a banana and just thought — that grew from the earth, and now it’s in my belly?
There are creatures with 8 legs, creatures with no legs. Plants that eat animals, and animals that eat plants. This Earth Day, let yourself marvel at the wonders of nature. Get outside, feel the breeze, chat to some trees. Enjoy some magic mushrooms — they are of the Earth too after all 😉