Environmental Outlook: “What Has Nature Ever Done For Us?” By Tony Juniper
Economic prosperity and conserving the environment is often seen as being in conflict — to get the former, you have to sacrifice the latter. But there’s a growing body of research that suggests when we don’t protect nature, short term economic gains may result in long term losses. In his new book, leading British environmentalist Tony Juniper says that’s because the things nature provides us, that we tend to think of as free, has a monetary value that can be measured. And it’s time for companies and governments to start accounting for it when doing business. For this month’s Environmental Outlook, Diane talks with Tony Juniper about his new book, “What Has Nature Ever Done for Us? How Money Really Does Grow on Trees.”
It also describes some of the early research into psychedelics and how these scientists are trying to separate their work from the shadow of the 1960’s in order to be taken more seriously by the medical world in exploring the therapeutic benefits of these substances.
Ram Dass and Ralph Metzner’s Birth of a Psychedelic Culture details the beginning of this movement that examines the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics and challenges the stigma of these substances from the 1960’s.
“After transcendent experiences, people often have much less fear of death,” Griffiths says. Fourteen months after participating in a psilocybin study that was published in The Journal of Psychopharmacology last year, 94 percent of subjects said that it was one of the five most meaningful experiences of their lives; 39 percent said that it was the most meaningful experience.
Michael Bogenschutz, Dr. Ralph Metzner & Dr. George Greer Presented at the Colloquium
On March 20th, Synergetic Press hosted “Frontiers of the Future,” a colloquium on Psychedelics, Healing and Expansion of Consciousness featuring presentations and discussions with pioneers in these fields.
Dr. Ralph Metzner
The evening began with a presentation from George Greer, Co-founder and Medical Director of the Heffter Research Institute. He spoke about psilocybin research that Heffter is supporting and how psilocybin can be used for cancer anxiety treatment.
Michael Bogenschutz, Professor of Psychiatry at UNM followed Greer talking about current psilocybin-alcoholism research happening at UNM.
The program was moderated by Dr. Robert Weisz, a clinical psychologist, consultant, and life coach in private practice.
Tonight we were looking at the mysterious phenomenon of healing and change and the administration of certain substances that can expand awareness and induce deep experiences,” Weisz said.
Dr. Paulo Barbosa, Professor of Scientific Methods and Mental Health, Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz, Bahia, Brazil gave a presentation on the effects of Ayahuasca on health. He spoke about the health benefits of ayahuasca for people experiencing alcohol/drug-related problems.
Dr. Ralph Metzner culminated the presentations with a talk on the expansion of consciousness and the use of psychedelics for the purpose of healing.
Metzner spoke about consciousness expansion that occurs in our everyday lives. Each morning when you wake up, your consciousness expands as you come out of your dream state and back into reality, he said.
Dinner and a Discussion with the Speakers
He spoke about the need to find terminology, other than “psychedelics” to describe these substances and the experience of consciousness expansion.”These changes in consciousness that happen call into question your entire worldview,” Metzner said. It’s difficult to find a word to describe that experience.
“Psychedelics” is a term that has been identified in popular culture with one specific purpose, but Metzner says there are many different experiences one can have with these substances. “The therapeutic possibilities of consciousness expansion cannot be overestimated,” Metzner said in his talk.
Following the presentations, a dinner and panel discussion was held where the speakers responded to questions from the audience. Food was prepared by Joe’s Diner in Santa Fe.
It’s one of the ingredients in a rather huge and mysterious process of healing and change. We want to keep in mind that there are no absolute answers to these questions but there are a lot of interesting questions to be asked,” Weisz said.
Anyone suffering from the global warming blues will cherish this uplifting account of the most ambitious environmental experiment of our time: Biosphere 2, a miniature Earth under glass, the world’s largest laboratory for global ecology. John Allen’s memoir, Me and the Biospheres is a rich and complex narrative, filled with rollicking adventure, exceptional camaraderie and mind-bending science.
Covering three acres of Arizona desert, Biosphere 2 contained seven biomes: a 900,000-gallon ocean with a coral reef, a rainforest, a savannah, a desert, a farm and a micro-city, all housed within an air-tight, sealed glass and steel frame structure. Eight people lived inside for two years (1991-1993) setting world records in human life-support, monitoring their impact on the environment, while providing crucial data for future manned missions into outer space.
Read the Santa Fe Reporter Story
Almost as astonishing as the structure itself, is the story of how it came to be. Back in 1969, Biosphere 2 was a mere seed in the luminous mind of writer, actor, philosopher, inventor, and scientist John Allen. He prepared for the manifestation of Biosphere 2 by assembling smaller projects: the creation of a ship to study ocean and river ecologies and cultures; a rainforest enrichment project; a theater group; a world-class art gallery and more. As awe-inspiring as the great cathedrals, Biosphere 2’s building and operation demanded the efforts of the diverse team of scientists, engineers, artists and thinkers from around the world who John Allen worked closely with for decades.
Me and the Biospheres also is an account of the singular life John Allen has led: his travels to Egypt, Vietnam, Nepal, Tibet and India; and his meetings with people including Buckminster Fuller, William Burroughs, Charles Mingus, and Ornette Coleman. From building developments in Iran to adobe houses in New Mexico, from Harvard Business School to cafés in Tangiers, from board meetings in Fort Worth to mystical moments with Sufi sages, John Allen has impacted millions of people with his manifest integrity. His humorous and Whitmanesque memoir is a tribute to the ingenuity and dauntlessness of the human mind. Me and the Biospheres is a passionate call to reawaken to the beauty of our peerless home, Biosphere 1, the Earth.