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Extinction Rebellion: The Big One is here to stay!

Extinction Rebellion: The Big One is here to stay!

On April 21st, 2023, Earth Day weekend, London saw one of the biggest climate change protests in its history. The Big One, organized by the global activist group Extinction Rebellion, brought together thousands of people from all walks of life to demand action on climate change. Extinction Rebellion’s three core demands remain the same: Tell The Truth, Act Now and Decide Together. 

A four- day event filled with exciting events, get-togethers and community hubs for all to enjoy, Extinction Rebellion not only held one of the most important peaceful climate protests of our time, it set out to educate and demonstrate for a world where regenerating our planet is both possible and imperative. The streets were filled with excited families, young people passionate about our planet, and wise elders sharing moving tales. With activities and talks held all day by talented activities, scientists and allies, the crowd was address by supporters such as TV presenter Chris Packham, Insect Apocalypse author Dave Goulson, Jyoti Fernandes from Land Workers’ Alliance and Delia Mattis from Black Lives Matter, speaking on the current climate and ecological crisis as well as possible solutions. 

Organizers of The Big One called for a range of measures to tackle climate change, from reducing carbon emissions to divesting from fossil fuels. However, the fight for our planet is bigger than simply asking the “powers” of the world to change their standards of behavior. We need to start finding obtainable solutions together. The forces that serve to deplete our planet include over consumption, the overuse of natural resources without a global plan for regeneration and restoration, water scarcity, severe fires, rising sea levels, flooding, melting of the caps, and the loss of biodiversity, all correlated with anthropocentric activity. 

As the protests came to an end at 16.30 of April 24th, the groups gathered for The Finale to Picket Parliament if the Government did not commence discussions on the Demand. It was clear the British Government did not have a plan to respond, and are not acknowledging the importance of tackling this issue, dismissing climate change as a problem separate from governmental policy. 

The Big One serves  as a powerful reminder that together, we can all make a difference. When it comes to the future of our planet and our species survival, we can’t afford to be complacent about the climate crisis or the overarching issues dictated by multinational corporations, corrupt leaders and imbalanced systems of power. Rest assured, these rallies do not stop here. Extinction Rebellion is creating a momentum with over 670k followers on instagram, and these peaceful protests having a magnetic pull and power that leads to our voices being heard. They will continue to be a driving force in creating a better, more equitable world for people and the planet.

If you’d like to volunteer or contribute to Extinction Rebellion, have a look at their website for more info.

Breaking Convention 2023: Pushing the Boundaries for Psychedelic Consciousness

Breaking Convention 2023: Pushing the Boundaries for Psychedelic Consciousness

What happens when all the witches and wizards of the world gather together? We talk about psychedelics, consciousness, the nature of the universe, clinical psychology, neuroscience and everything else in between. 

Breaking Convention is a dynamic biennial event that celebrates the intersection of psychedelic consciousness and various other fields of study. With over 200 presenters from around the world, this conference is Europe’s largest gathering of its kind. This three day event showcases groundbreaking research and insights across a wide range of human and social sciences, law, politics, art, history, psychotherapy, neuroscience and philosophy. The conference also features a wide array of workshops, art exhibitions, a full cinema programme, curated museum exhibits and even a fantastical party for all participants to commune together. 

The conference began on April 19th, otherwise known as Bicycle Day, an auspicious occasion for many in the psychedelic community. As witches, wizards, and magic-makers made their way through the picturesque halls of the University of Exeter, the excitement effervesced, a tangible feeling of our brain waves connecting through the ether, together entering the realm of liminnal possibilities, new knowledge, and osmosis. 

Through the power of voice and dialog, we commenced the three days, jam packed with lectures that would inspire us with nuggets of knowledge from top researchers of psychedelia such as Paul Statmets, Amanda Fielding, Rick Doblin and beyond. The first day began with talks from our friend and author of The Rose of Paracelsus, Leonard Pickard, a hero in the world of psychedelia. Leonard’s humility, depth of awareness and consistent willingness to move through adversity catapulted us into presence, grounding us in the present moment in history and inviting us to understand the gravity of why we had all chosen to gather in community for the coming days. 

The seminars were divided into five areas throughout the main buildings of the Exeter Campus. Each salon with its own kind of magic, the talks on Thursday began with a variety of talks touching the potent topics of psychedelic-assisted therapy, decolonization as well as the moral case against prohibitionist drug policies. We explored the origins and history of rave culture through stimulating talks with Chiara Baldini, Georgia Gaia, Jacqueline Anderson and Rupert Callender from The Green Funeral company about the subcultures that have emerged around the use of magic and non-ordinary states of consciousness. From chaos magic to acid house, the intertwined roots of ritual and rave culture reminded us all of how transformative states of consciousness can be attained through dance. 

Conference Highlights

The following day was filled with inspiring interactions. Representatives from Synergetic Press, Lucid News, The Guardian, The Ukrainian Psychedelic Research Association and others took part in an intimate press conference where we had the opportunity to listen and ask questions to some of the greats in the industry. 

 Deborah Mash, neuroscientist, lecturer, and inventor, introduced the press conference by sharing about the opportunities and challenges in executing clinical trials and the current issues with funding for research with plant medicines, emphasizing the importance of real-world evidence in the evolving psychedelic landscape. Likewise, mycologist Paul Stamets spoke about the benefits of microdosing as well as the potential issues found in clinical trials with regards to the use of non-neutral placebos in psychedelic research in the U.S. Amanda Fielding, Founder of The Beckley Foundation, also referred to as the ‘Queen of Psychedelics’, presented her historical elements of life as testament of her life’s work within the realm of psychedelic research, her passion for the mystical being a driving force in her search for better medicines. 

We also had the pleasure to meet David Erritzoe, qualified as a medical doctor at Copenhagen University Medical School, who has worked under the mentorship of Professor Ann Lingfor-Hughes and David Nutt at Imperial College London, conducting post-doc imaging research in neurobiology of addiction and major depression. We also spoke to Leor Roseman, a fellow researcher at the Centre for Psychedelic Research in Imperial College London, whose current work focuses on investigating the relational processes and group dynamics between Palestinian and Israeli activists using psychedelics with the intention of fostering peacebuilding, liberation and justice. 

Through the discussions of the press conference, Synergetic Press got the opportunity to intimately dive into the panel’s expertise, allowing us to ask questions and immerse ourselves into their research, theories and stories. The trend towards a clinical, medicalised approach has been evident in the Western exploration of consciousness, and the discussion centered around the question of how we can merge the mystical-type experiences induced by psychedelics and plant medicines with knowledge and outcomes of current clinical trials in order to will help institutionalize psychedelics as future medicines. 

If you are interested in joining Breaking Convention next year, have a look at their website for more info or follow them on instagram (@breakingconventionUK).

Ecodelics: Can psychedelics make you more ecologically-conscious?

Ecodelics: Can psychedelics make you more ecologically-conscious?

The term “ecodelics” is a relatively new concept, coined to describe the use of psychedelic substances as a means of enhancing ecological awareness, encouraging eco-friendly behavior, and fostering a deeper sense of connection with the more-than-human world. Psychedelic plants, fungi, and plant-derrived materials have been used since time immemorial by Indigenous cultures world-over, and have gained mainstream popularity in recent years for their potential therapeutic and healing benefits. However, can they also help us become more environmentally conscious? In this article, we explore the origin of the term “ecodelics” as well as the scientific research that has been conducted on the relationship between psychedelics and ecology.

What are Ecodelics?

The term ecodelics was first coined in 2015 by author and Professor of English and of Information Sciences and Technology at Pennsylvania State University, Dr. Richard Doyle. In his book, Darwin’s Pharmacy: Sex, Plants, and the Evolution of the Noosphere, he argues, after reviewing thousands of reports about psychedelic experiences, for what he calls the “ecodelic”  insight. That is, the sudden realization of being part of an interconnected ecosystem. From this perspective, the relationship between humans and psychedelics is not solely for our own individual benefit but is part of a larger feedback system that awakens us to our collective responsibility and contributes to the health of the Earth as a whole.

The “ecodelic” insight is characterized by a sense of awe and wonder that enables us to recognize our place within the larger web of life, moving us to take responsibility for our actions and make choices that support the continued flourishing of life. This can involve everything from reducing our carbon footprint to supporting sustainable agriculture and conservation efforts to building deeper relationships with our communities and more-than-human kin. 

In an essay contribution titled “Ecodelic Practices for the Anthropocence” published in The Ecological Thought, Doyle describes ecodelics as “a class of compounds that can catalyze a deep and transformative experience of nature, and through that experience inspire a deep and lasting commitment to its preservation.” Essentially, ecodelics are a type of psychedelic substance that can lead to an enhanced appreciation and respect for the natural world, ultimately leading to more life-sustaining, regenerative ways of being in the world.

Research on Psychedelics and Ecology

While the use of psychedelics for therapeutic purposes has been extensively researched, the relationship between psychedelics and ecology remains a relatively new field of study. However, some research has been conducted on the topic.

A 2019 research paper titled “From Egoism to Ecoism” explored the link between psychedelics and nature-relatedness. Through conducting an online survey with 654 participants by sending them a questionnaire 1 week before they were planning on using a psychedelics, plus 1 day, 2 weeks, 4 weeks, and 2 years after a psychedelic experience, researchers found that they frequency of lifetime psychedelic use was positively correlated with baseline scores in nature-connectedness, with a person’s sense of connection with nature being significantly increased after their psychedelic experience.

A more recent 2022 study looked at the relationship between psychedelic use, mystical experiences, and pro-environmental behaviors. In an online survey with 240 participants data was collected on participants’ psychedelic-occaisioned mystical experiences, personality, and self-reported pro-environmental behaviors, finding that those that had reported experiencing a “complete” mystical state also had higher scores for self-reported pro-environmntal behaviors such as eating and shopping in more environmentally sustainable ways.

Reshaping our Relationship with Nature

The concept of ecodelics is an exciting new field of research that has the potential to encourage more environmentally conscious behavior. While the research is still in its early stages, there is evidence to suggest that psychedelics can enhance our appreciation and respect for the natural world, ultimately leading to more eco-friendly behavior. As we continue to explore the potential benefits of ecodelics, we may discover new ways to promote regeneration and act in kinship with our planet.

While psychedelics may have the potential to foster ecological consciousness, it is important to recognize that they are not a cure-all for environmental problems. It is ultimately up to individuals, their communities, and culture at large to take responsibility for healing ourselves and our relationship with the planet. Nevertheless, the insights and experiences gained from using psychedelics can serve as a valuable tool in inspiring us to take action and make positive changes for ourselves and our more-than-human kind.

The Botanical Illustrations of Donna Torres: An illustrative journey into The Nature of Drugs

The Botanical Illustrations of Donna Torres: An illustrative journey into The Nature of Drugs

The Nature of Drugs Vol 1 is a book co-authored by Alexander Shulgin and his wife Ann Shulgin, featuring botanical illustrations by Donna Torres. Alexander Shulgin, a renowned American chemist, was a pioneer in the field of psychedelic drugs and is credited with synthesizing and popularizing several psychoactive compounds, including MDMA, also known as “ecstasy”. 

The book is transcribed from a class that Sasha taught at San Francisco State University in 1987. The Nature of Drugs: History, Pharmacology, and Social Impact, Volume 1, presents lectures from Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin’s popular course on what drugs are, how they work, how they are processed by the body, and how they affect our society. It explores the effects and properties of various psychoactive substances, ranging from well-known drugs like caffeine and marijuana to more obscure compounds like 2C-B and 5-MeO-DMT. 

The author provides detailed descriptions of each substance’s effects, dosage, and potential risks, along with their personal experiences and anecdotes. The book also includes scientific information about the chemistry and pharmacology of the drugs, as well as historical and cultural context for their use. Overall, The Nature of Drugs provides a comprehensive and engaging introduction to the world of psychoactive substances.

Donna Torres’ illustrations in The Nature of Drugs add a new dimension to the book’s exploration of psychoactive substances. Her artwork is both beautiful and informative, providing a visual representation of the effects and experiences described by the authors. Torres’ use of color and texture creates a sense of depth and movement, as though the images are alive with the energy of the drugs themselves. The illustrations are not just eye-catching, but also serve a practical purpose, helping readers understand the herbal properties and effects of the plants discussed in the book. Torres’ contribution to The Nature of Drugs is a testament to the power of art to enhance our understanding of complex topics and enrich our experience of the world.

A talented illustrator from Miami, Florida, Torres is known for her distinctive style and creative approach to visual storytelling. With a background in fine arts and graphic design, she has honed her skills in a range of mediums, from digital illustration to traditional painting and drawing. Her work is characterized by its bold colors, expressive brushwork, and attention to detail, which combine to create a sense of energy and movement that draws the viewer in. Torres is known for her ability to capture the essence of a subject, whether it’s a person, place, or concept, and bring it to life in a way that is both engaging and informative. Her illustrations have been featured in a variety of publications, from children’s books to scientific journals, and have earned her numerous accolades and awards. As an artist, Donna Torres is passionate about using her skills to educate, inspire, and entertain others, and her work continues to inspire and delight audiences around the world. 

She shares: “ Painting is magic, an old professor of mine told me once. It can be the place of hopes and dreams, a place to explore the unknown. It can be a place to learn about the world. Those words rang true to me and I try to keep those words present in my work. I want to look beyond the surface of things and see what ties everything together. Can we bring our dreams into a working reality? Can paintings give us a sense of hope or a sense of the wonder we experience when all things are new? My work focuses on breaking away from a habituated viewing of what is around us and looks for the small details that enrich life.”

Needless to say, Torres’ depiction through her journey of the natural world entraps you into an interpretation filled with surrealism, realism and subtlety. An art that comes from the simple love of observing the minuscule life of nature. It is a work of art, not only centered on the intellectual, due to her ability to lead us into knowing plants and places, but also an emotional experience, due to its vibrant colors and its ability to connect us to the visual representation of nature. Her pieces not only bring knowledge, they also inspire faith for a deeper connection with the world.

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