Learning about the Biosphere: Inside of Biosphere 2

We’re celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Biosphere 2’s first mission! Hear more about it in this interview with NBC News, as Biospherian Mark Nelson describes what life was like inside of Biosphere 2 and how those lessons have shaped our thinking about future space colonization.



Mark Nelson

Mark Nelson, photo © Peter Menzel

For a closer look at life inside of Biosphere 2, you can read more from Mark Nelson, who spent two years enclosed inside the biospheric bubble as part of the innovative experiment and discover how he developed a passion for natural solutions to wastewater recycling. As the manager of these essential systems he realized how essential the proper re-use of human waste is to the health of the planet. Join him in The Wastewater Gardener: Preserving the Planet One Flush at a Time on a global expedition of discovery, which he recounts with his characteristic humor and humility.

 

USA_SCI_BIOSPH_86_xs Biosphere 2 Project founder John Allen inside Biosphere 2 teat greenhouses and livestock areas. Biosphere 2 was a privately funded experiment, designed to investigate the way in which humans interact with a small self-sufficient ecological environment, and to look at possibilities for future planetary colonization. The $30 million Biosphere covers 2.5 acres near Tucson, Arizona, and was entirely self- contained. The eight ‘Biospherian’s’ shared their air- and water-tight world with 3,800 species of plant and animal life. The project had problems with oxygen levels and food supply, and has been criticized over its scientific validity. 1990

John Allen, photo © Peter Menzel

And for another perspective on the epic tale of Biosphere 2, turn to the legendary John Allen, who was the conceiver and inventor of Biosphere 2. Allen was first inspired when he began to learn of the sphere that supports all life on earth⸺the biosphere⸺ through study of Vernadsky at the Colorado School of Mines. Through his travels around the planet to study the many biomes that cooperate to keep earth in balance and his journeys inward through shamanic ceremonies to explore the nature of consciousness, Allen expresses the wisdom gained through a lifetime of adventure and inquiry in Me and the Biospheres: A Memoir by the Inventor of Biosphere 2.

 

 

Wastewater-Gardner-Cover

Silver Winner in the category of Home & Garden in the 2015 Benjamin Franklin Award, 2014 Living Now Book Award—Gold Winner in the category of Gardening / Farming / Landscaping, Foreword Reviews’ 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award—Silver Winner in the category of Ecology & Environment, Finalist for the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards in the category of Science/Nature/Environment, and Winner of the 2015 Southwest Book Design and Production Award for Best Cover and Jacket Design

Me and the Biospheres

Winner of the 2009 Benjamin Franklin Award for Best Biography/Memoir

 

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Understanding Ayahuasca: From Indigenous Origins to Neo-Shamanism

New York City at the Alchemist Kitchen

19 November

Understanding Ayahuasca: From Indigenous Origins to Neo-Shamanism

Alex Grey * Luis Eduardo Luna * Ralph Metzner * Daniel Pinchbeck * Allyson Grey * Allan Badiner * Steven White * Michael Garfield * Esthela Calderón * Skytree

Presentations • Panel Discussions • Dinner • Visionary Art • Poetry • Live Music • Dancing

Come help us celebrate launch of the Ayahuasca Reader

The Alchemist’s Kitchen
21 East First Street
New York, NY

ARFinalCoverJoin the editors of the new Ayahuasca Reader with leading authorities on ethnobotany and ayahuasca for an enlightening afternoon Symposium and stimulating evening Salon as we explore the cultural history, traditional and neo-shamanic practices, artistic and literary inspirations, and the scientific, therapeutic and ecological dimensions of the sacred Vine of the Amazon. The afternoon symposium will feed your mind and heart with compelling presentations and lively discussions, and the evening Salon will continue the journey with spoken word, art, music and dance.

Tickets to the event will be available soon. Email us if you want to receive notification to reserve your space: Deborah Parrish Snyder

Please support our Indiegogo campaign and get your copy of the Ayahuasca Reader NOW!

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https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ayahuasca-reader-encounters-with-the-healing-vine/x/11427534#/

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Wisdom from the Elders: Stories from Indigenous Ayahuasca Traditions

Artist unknown. Shipibo Textile. Courtesy of St. Lawrence University.


Artist unknown. Shipibo Textile. Courtesy of St. Lawrence University, in Ayahuasca Reader

Ayahuasca is More than a Headline

As it becomes more widespread, more people are sharing their experiences with ayahuasca. This traditional indigenous plant medicine has been making its way beyond the its home in the rainforests of the Amazon to major urban centers around the world. An increasing number of people, including spiritual seekers, travelers and even celebrities have been coming out and sharing their experiences. As more people are trying it, more people have been sharing their stories. More major news outlets including BBC, The Guardian, New York Times, and so many more mainstream news sources are sharing stories describing the effects of ayahuasca.

Respecting Indigenous Ayahuasca Traditions

But beyond any news articles are the stories of the people who have known ayahuasca for generations. The wisdom shared by people trained in shamanic lineages is more difficult to access; most of them don’t have blogs. To hear these stories requires multiple translations and perilous journeys to remote villages deep in the rainforest.
Ayahuasca Reader includes mythic narratives and testimonies from members of the indigenous groups who use the drink, themselves: the Siona, Cashinahua, Huaorani, Desana, Witoto, Yagua, Inga and Secoya. Some of these materials have been published previously, often in difficult to find journals and books in a variety of languages. In other cases, the authors have produced their contributions expressly for this anthology.
Ayahuasca Reader has a collection of these stories with notes and insights from the editors to provide deeper understanding of the original contexts of ayahuasca use and an examination of how changing cultural circumstances are shifting its ritual practice.

The Story of a Young Shaman

The following narrative from Ayahuasca Reader is by Yagua shaman Alberto Prohaño as told to French anthropologist Jean-Pierre Chaumeil places an emphasis on ritual itself and the actual songs used to invoke the different plant-spirits. The individual performance of the shaman facilitates a social function in connection with themythic presences invoked through the act of singing. This text also exemplifies theole of ayahuasca as a milestone in the path of knowledge, following other sacred plants such as piripiri (Cyperaceous sp.) and tobacco…

Paye Candido by Jeison Castillo, in Ayahuasca Reader

Excerpt from “Initiation Experience”

On the third moon, múwa wánditu, I again drank ayahuasca mixed with tobacco juice and piripiri. At each stage, a new plant is added, with the goal of knowing them all, little by little. My deceased father and I sang the song to call the mother of ayahuasca:
ramanujúhamwo ranatutéhi
yeee yeee yeee yeeeeeeee
yeee yeee yeee yeeeeeeee
ramanujúhamwo rándia tuwatiaténdehi
ramanujúhamwo rándia tuwatié ndaria
yándatiénda npënanujú
hastëro rimínda
yátí yátí yátí yátí yátí
yátí yátí yátí yátí yátí
mother of ayahuasca, I’m going to call you
(call) yeeee yeee yeeeeeeeee
mother of ayahuasca, I don’t know you (I want to know you)
I still don’t know you
teach me how to heal
I want to extract virotes
come, come, come, come, . . .
The ayahuasca takes me, drags me along. Images appear. My father questions me. I answer that I don’t see anything. He gives me another dose that I swallow. The colors dance, the lit candle appears . . . on a second plane, animals torn to pieces parade past . . . my bones come out of their joints; the creatures devour my flesh . . . But a sweet voice echoes in my head: “Look! Study! Learn about this plant. Smoke, but do not spit. Swallow all the smoke. Don’t let even a mouthful escape.”
I suck on the cigar pë pë pë pë . . . a strange smell invades me, sweet and perfumed, followed by the image of a thick ayahuasca trunk. Whispering comes from below the vine, as if someone were speaking or, perhaps, singing:
eeeee eeeee eeeee
I’m the mother of ayahuasca
come closer and light this cigar
I take several puffs on the enormous cigar that they give me and I swallow all
the smoke:
uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu.
A perfume penetrates my cold body. The images go up in smoke, little by little. I’m normal again. My bones are welded together. Then they appear again . . . I’m  scared . . . they calm once more only to return again. Terrifying images parade before my eyes. My bones explode . . . there are toothless monsters that fly, jump, fall, hang in the air, bite and devour each other . . . I want to leave, but a voice intervenes:
“Drink a little bit more. You’ll see everything.”
This account, based on field work done in 1976 by French anthropologist Jean-Pierre Chaumeil, is by Yagua shaman Alberto Prohaño, current leader of the community Edén de la Frontera on the Marichín River. In this text, which is fragmentary out of necessity, Alberto goes over some of the most intense moments of his own initiation. At that time, he still had not reached the age of twenty (in 1976, he was thirty-five). He was initiated by his father, Xenon, who received his shamanic knowledge from his father. In the following years, Alberto practiced with his maternal uncle José Murayari, who worked to perfect the knowledge of his future son-in-law by means of the periodic ingestion of new plant decoctions.

Carrying the Wisdom of Ancient Practices

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In Ayahuasca Reader: Encounters with the Amazon’s Sacred Vine you’ll find myths and stories passed down over generations of Amazonian healers, personal testimonies of experiences with Amazonian cultures, a selection of hymns and texts from the religions using ayahuasca as a sacrament, writings from well-known figures in the literary world on the lasting influence of their experience, and a section of transcendental visionary color art to illuminate our understanding of ayahuasca.

Read more about these practices and dive into the deep traditions of Amazonian plant medicine wisdom. Support our Indiegogo campaign and you’ll receive your copy of Ayahuasca Reader, and you can check out the other incentives we have to take your further in your exploration of consciousness and planetary culture.

Honoring Diversity at the World Ayahuasca Conference

World Ayahuasca ConferenceYou can join the largest gathering of the world ayahuasca community, meeting. Come together with more than 100 speakers who will share knowledge and expertise through presentations and cross-cultural roundtables, and take this opportunity to learn more about the diverse indigenous communities participating in the conference, and to take in film, music, art… and much more.

On October 17-22, the International Center for Ethnobotanical Education, Research & Service (ICEERS) is bringing together the global ayahuasca community for the second World Ayahuasca Conference in Rio Branco Brazil.
The Conference has a panel dedicated specifically to the indigenous world, with tracks focusing on Amazonian Shamanism, Ayahuasca Traditions and Indigenous Knowledge, and other panels exploring the transformation of ayahuasca use within indigenous communities and how the outside world reinterprets native practices.
 
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Ayahuasca, Lore of the Amazon and Rainforest Action

Join the discussion with Alex Pogzeba, Jim Gollin and Deborah Parrish Snyder speaking on Ayahuasca, Lore of the Amazon, and Rainforest Action!

Renacos by Pablo Amaringo, 1996, in Ayahusca Reader

Renacos by Pablo Amaringo, 1996, in Ayahusca Reader

Thursday, September 15th, 6:00 pm at Collected Works Bookstore and Coffeehouse in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Ayahuasca is a visionary healing plant from the Amazon used by shamans for millennia for its powerful positive effect on mental, physical and spiritual health. Learn about the mythology, spiritual and cultural importance of this healing plant, as well as what is killing the rainforests now and what you can do about it.

 

The newest book from Synergetic Press, Ayahuasca Reader: Encounters with the Amazon’s Sacred Vine, is the most comprehensive anthology of writings on the subject ever published. There is a global ayahuasca movement underway as hundreds of thousands of people are experiencing the remarkable effects of ayahuasca, but little is know of its history and how it works. The Ayahuasca Reader tells the story of ayahuasca from many perspectives. The book explores the many aspects of this healing brew, providing cultural context from Amazonian shamans, offering a wealth of scientific and medical understanding, detailing its spiritual and religious use, as well as illustrating its role in both literary and artistic expression.


Alex Pogzeba

Alexander Pogzeba

Jim Gollin

Jim Gollin

Deborah Parrish Snyder

Deborah Parrish Snyder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alexander Pogzeba, anthropologist and ethnobotanist, completed his BA in Anthropology with a focus on ethnology at University of New Mexico During his undergraduate coursework he explored traditional medicine, curanderismo and ethnobotany throughout Latin America and the Southwestern United States.

Jim Gollin is President of the Board of Directors for the Rainforest Action Network which campaigns for the forests, their inhabitants and the natural systems that sustain life by transforming the global marketplace through education, grassroots organizing and non-violent direct action.

Deborah Parrish Snyder, the publisher of Synergetic Press since 1984, publishing over 40 books on the environment, ethnobotany, consciousness, and cultural anthropology. She is a Director of the Institute of Ecotechnics, a non-profit ecological think-tank, helping to manage a number of the international conferences it has hosts on global trends and in the field of closed ecological systems and biospherics.

Ayahusca, Lore of the Amazon and Rainforest Action is sure to be an empowering and enlightening gathering!

We hope you can join us there, but even if you’re not able to attend you can still be part of the action by participating in our Ayahuasca Reader campaign.

Ayahuasca Reader

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Be Part of the Global Ayahuasca Reader Movement

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Join the Launch of Ayahuasca Reader!

Join us in supporting the launch of our newest book, Ayahuasca Reader, and a educational outreach initiative designed to spread awareness and understanding on this important plant medicine and visionary vine. Ayahuasca Reader is the most comprehensive and authoritative source of information about ayahuasca, a healing plant used for millenia by shamans in the Amazon basin that has in recent years been gaining popularity for its positive benefits to physical health and spiritual growth.

Untitled by Pablo Amaringo, in Ayahuasca Reader

Untitled by Pablo Amaringo, in Ayahuasca Reader

Inside the pages of this magical text you’ll travel with dozens of adventurers, anthropologists, artists, shamans, scientists and poets on a journey to remote regions of the Amazon and to the far reaches of the human psyche.

“A wonderful book of vivid reports, illuminating every aspect of Ayahuasca‘s own world, covering all that matters about these plant spirits and their worldwide impact. This book’s poetry and scope led me to honor, as never before, the gifts we are offered from the proper use of these plants.”
–James Fadiman, PhD, psychologist, researcher and author, The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide

New Edition: Ancient Stories, Breakthrough Research

The new edition of the Ayahuasca Reader features many distinct voices of the global ayahuasca movement: the researchers conducting clinical studies on its healing effects, the painters depicting the ineffable experience with visionary images, the indigenous people carrying the wisdom of ancestral traditions, and the stories of how ayahuasca has opened these individuals to their connection with the natural world and their true selves.

“Ayahuasca has a very insistent message. It’s one of those universals that almost everyone who drinks the brew sooner or later reports. It’s about the sacred, magical, enchanted, interconnected, infinitely precious nature of life on earth, and the interdependence of material and spiritual realms.” Graham Hancock from the Reader

The Ayahuasca Reader is a five-part anthology which shares myths passed down over generations of Amazonian healers, personal testimonies of encounters with Amazonian cultures, a selection of hymns and texts from the religions using ayahuasca as a sacrament, writings from well-known figures in the literary world on the lasting influence of their experience, and a section of transcendental visionary color art to further illuminate our understanding of ayahuasca. This comprehensive collection of writings has been expanded with a new section of ayahuasca inspired art and other resources to draw readers even deeper into the mythic mysteries of the Amazonian brew that has been gaining attention around the world.

Leading Voices from Traditional and Contemporary Culture

Paye Candido by Jeison Castillo, in Ayahuasca Reader

Paye Candido by Jeison Castillo, in Ayahuasca Reader

The texts chosen for this book include translations from nearly a dozen languages, representing the voices of many different Amazonian peoples and the diversity of their cultural approaches to working with ayahuasca. Contributors include legendary scholars of Amazonian plant medicine such as Wade Davis, Dennis McKenna, and Richard Spruce; cultural icons like Allen Ginsberg and recognized shamans and spiritual leaders such as Raimundo Irineu Serra, Fernando Payaguaje, and Alberto Prohaño. This new edition also includes essays from prominent visionary figures including Graham Hancock, Alex Grey, Jeremy Narby, Susana Bustos, Michael Winkelman, and others.

The Ayahuasca Reader provides a well-rounded introduction to plant medicines, Amazonian indigenous cultures, and psychedelic/entheogenic journeys, while also offering extensive information on the effects and experience of ayahuasca, the cultural context from which its preparation and use has emerged, and its blossoming impact worldwide.

Given the plethora of publications on ayahuasca, it is sometimes difficult to know which are the worthiest. That being said, the Ayahuasca Reader is a classic.”
   –Mark Plotkin, PhD, ethnobotanist, Founder & Director Amazon Conservation Team

Sharing the Wisdom of this Rainforest Medicine

Synergetic Press is mounting a global publishing an educational outreach campaign about ayahuasca, because at this critical juncture in time as we are seeing a remarkable increase of interest in this mysterious and undeniably powerful rainforest medicine. More people are beginning to discover the many benefits of this traditional brew, including the treatment of conditions ranging from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s to PTSD and depression.

But at the same time that Western doctors and researchers are taking note of its potential for humanity, the very cultures and rainforest environment where it came from continue to be threatened and we are at risk of losing irreplaceable knowledge as well as the healing plants themselves.

Thanks in Advance for Your Support!

We can’t do it alone. We’re counting on you to share this vision with us and support the movement for greater consciousness and connection with the Earth.

Get your own copy of the Ayahuasca Reader, explore our other incentives, and find the level of support that works for you! And please share this with any friends or colleagues who you feel will also appreciate this initiative. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ayahuasca-reader-encounters-with-the-healing-vine

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Twenty-five years of Science and Imagination at Biosphere 2

Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Biosphere 2

This year the revolutionary laboratory on earth sciences, Biosphere 2, is celebrating its 25th Anniversary. The initial experiment began in September of 1991 when eight pioneering individuals were enclosed inside of its glass walls for two years. The existence of Biosphere 2 and the research conducted there continue to gain attention, as it fuels understanding of planetary systems and calls attention to the realities of our circumstances on the original Biosphere, the Earth.

In 1993, in the first moments when the human experiment was coming to a close, the biospherians re-entered the outside world after two years of stewardship in their enclosed home. Mark Nelson, who managed the wetland sewage treatment system inside of Biosphere 2, shared a few words on the experience:

Mark Nelson in the wastewater treatment marsh of Biosphere 2

Mark Nelson in the wastewater treatment marsh of Biosphere 2. Photo from biospherics.org

“We’ve come out of another world. Through that thin airlock there is another world living… What’s been surprising and profoundly wonderful is that operating Biosphere 2 has changed the way I operate my organism. To live in a small world and be conscious of its controls, its beauty, its fragility, its bounty and its limits changes who you are.”

Mark Nelson, PhD, one of the original Biospherians and author of The Wastewater Gardener: Preserving the Planet One Flush at a Time

Several recent articles have revisited the story of Biosphere 2, while highlighting the role that the facility continues to play in inspiring a new generation to be ecologically minded.

“Many older generations know of us thanks to the experiments conducted in the early 1990s,” explains John Adams, deputy director of Biosphere 2. “But we really want to engage with the younger generations.”

The experiments Adams refers to are two missions which saw a team of scientists seal themselves inside the laboratory. The first mission garnered the most column inches; four men and four women entered Biosphere 2 in 1991, vowing to stay inside the lab for two years, without any physical contact in the outside world. The team hoped to demonstrate the viability of closed ecosystems in maintaining human life, and also explore how such a closed biosphere could be used in space colonisation.

Huffington Post UK

Flowing Through Changes Over Time

Whenever there’s an experiment at Biosphere 2, it’s a big experiment. This summer, Biosphere 2 will be home to the largest study ever conducted on how water moves through a landscape.

Photo credit: Gil Kenny

Water is clearly vital to life, but so are the minerals and nutrients it picks up as it flows through rocks and soil. This process, called weathering, underlies everything else in an ecosystem, including microbes, plants, animals, agriculture and how the landscape changes over time. . . .

“Chemical weathering is the first thing you need in order to form a habitable planet,” says Dixon. But the process is still not well understood.

That’s where Biosphere 2 comes in.

New Scientist

Although weathering has been studied in laboratories, there is no other laboratory that can compare in providing such large-scale conditions with the benefit of being a controlled atmosphere.

. . . the University of Arizona is transforming part of the site into a “Land Evolution Observatory”—a 10-year, $5 million project to study how vegetation, topography and other factors affect the movement of rainwater through watershed to drinking water.

Newsweek

The substantial site provides a unique opportunity to see how water moving over the land causes changes over time on a real-world scale.  

Living in Harmony at the Heart of Biosphere 2

Aside from serving as fertile ground for conducting scientific research on how water and soils operate, Biosphere 2 provides an experimental mirror for the way humanity relates to the Earth. John Allen, the inventor, conceiver and co-founder of the Biosphere 2 project provided an unparalleled opportunity to reflect on our own lifestyles. He spoke at the re-entry ceremony, when the eight people who had dedicated two years of their lives to the ambitious project emerged back into the larger atmosphere of the biosphere that we all share.

Project founder John Allen inside Biosphere 2

John Allen inside the Biosphere 2 test greenhouse. Photo Copyright: © Peter Menzel www.menzelphoto.com

“The biospherians have shown in practice for the past two years the do-ability of a comprehensive code of ethical behavior in a new area in which we can no longer depend on the aesthetic interests of the few or the economic interests of the many to maintain proper behavior in humanity’s relationship to the very basis of our life, to the biosphere. The eight biospherians ate, slept, worked, dreamed, enjoyed and suffered, in short existed in harmony with their biosphere. Their biosphere flourished with their way of life, they recycled their food, their wastes, their water, their air. They protected biodiversity and enhanced the beauty of their landscapes. Their own bodies purified and their biosphere sparkles undimmed without a ghost-like fog of smog. They lived with high tech instrumentation and communications but in a non-destructive, ecotechnic way… Sophistication and love of wilderness blended and fulfilled their dreams. I appreciate the biospherians’ skill in operations, their integrity in research, their zest for exploration but I honor them for their ethical achievement, achieved at no small cost to their immediate gratifications, for having done what they perceived they ought to do.”

John Allen, Inventor, Conceiver and Co-Founder of Biosphere 2, author of Me and the Biospheres: A Memoir by the Inventor of Biosphere 2 

 To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Biosphere 2, we’re offering a 25% discount on The Wastewater Gardener: Preserving the Planet One Flush at a TimeMe and the Biospheres: A Memoir by the Inventor of Biosphere 2, Life Under Glass: The Inside Story of Biosphere 2  as well as our other significant biospheric titles such as Geochemistry and the Biosphere: Essays by Vladimir VernadskyThe Anthropocene: The Human Era and How it Shapes Our Lives, What Has Nature Ever Done for Us? How Money Really Does Grow on Trees 

Use coupon code Bio25 at checkout from our Synergetic Bookstore for 25% off of these important ecological books!

Wastewater Gardner CoverMe and the BiospheresThe Inside Story of Biosphere 2geochemistry and the biosphere

anthropocene

What Has Nature Ever Done For Us?

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Architectural Overview of Biosphere 2

And to read more on history of biospherics, the creation of Biosphere 2, and its continuing legacy from an architectural point of view, check out this paper written by Antonino Di Raimo, Architect PhD, Dean of Architecture at POLIS University from Tirana Architecture Week.

Allowing the Unknowable: The experience of Biosphere 2

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What Can a Taxi Driver from New York Do for the Planet?

Forty Years of Ecology, Adventure and Radical Cultural Innovation

Mark Nelson examining a small-scale closed ecological system. COPYRIGHT:© Peter Menzel 1990

Mark Nelson examining a small-scale closed ecological system. COPYRIGHT:© Peter Menzel 1990

Mark Nelson’s forty years as a pioneer in ecological systems and space life support science, along with his natural skills as raconteur—promise an evening of memorable tales and hard-won understanding. You can join Mark for this event Monday, June 13 at 6.00 pm at the October Gallery in London.

Whether appearing in a satellite broadcast to one billion people worldwide when exiting the storied Biosphere 2 mini-world’s 2-year experiment, doggedly pick-axing invasive species from 5,000 acres in the Kimberley, or designing an ecological waste treatment system in war-torn Iraq—this evening of Nelson’s unique history as Chairman of Institute of Ecotechnics (www.ecotechnics.edu) will be a very special event.

Author Mark Nelson in the recovering southern Iraqi marshes in 2011Nelson was a member of the first team of “biospherians” 1991-93 inside Biosphere 2, in Arizona. He is associate editor of Life Sciences in Space Research and organises sessions at COSPAR and other space science conferences. In 1987, he was an organiser of the first international conference on closed systems, held at the Royal Society. His books include: Space Biospheres (with John Allen), Life Under Glass: the Inside Story of Biosphere 2, and The Wastewater Gardener: Preserving the Planet One Flush at a Time.

Nelson is also head of the Biospheric Design division of Global Ecotechnics Corporation (www.globalecotechnics.com) and founder of Wastewater Gardens International (www.wastewatergardens.com), which has brought ecological approaches to projects in more than fourteen countries worldwide. He works on reversing desertification in the Kimberley, Australia, and in New Mexico. He received his MSc at the University of Arizona’s School of Renewable Natural Resources, and his Ph.D. with the legendary co-founder of systems ecology and ecological engineering, H.T. Odum, at the University of Florida.

In 1993, Nelson was awarded the Yuri Gagarin Jubilee Medal for outstanding service to international cooperation in space and the environment by the Russian Cosmonautics Federation. He is a Fellow of the Explorers Club and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He is also an international speaker and has appeared in numerous documentaries about ecological issues and biospherics. His scientific papers may be found here:  https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mark_Nelson9/publications.

Institute of Ecotechnics is a UK charity based in the October Gallery premises.

Join Dr. Mark Nelson for this Special Evening at the October Gallery

Get Tickets Here!

The October GalleryMONDAY 13th of June, 6 PM, October Gallery

Please arrive at 6.00 pm for a 6.30 pm start.

Refreshments available and Advance ticket holders entitled to 1 free glass of wine or 1 free soft drink at the bar.

Please note that this event takes place on the 2nd floor of the gallery, accessible by stairs only. 

Monday, 13 June 2016 from 18:00 to 21:00 (BST)

October Gallery – 24 Old Gloucester Street, London, WC1N 3AL, United Kingdom – View Map

 

And if you aren’t able to attend this event with Mark, you can still read about his ecological adventures in Life Under Glass: the Inside Story of Biosphere 2 and The Wastewater Gardener: Preserving the Planet One Flush at a Time.

Life Under Glass: The Inside Story of Biosphere 2 | Abigail Alling and Mark NelsonWastewater Gardener: Preserving the Planet one Flush at a Time!

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Tracing the Amazonian Travels of Richard Evans Schultes

This article is reposted with permission from the American Botanical Council. You can see the original post here.

By Mark Plotkin, PhD

Richard Evans Schultes

Richard Evans Schultes

Richard Evans Schultes, PhD, was the greatest Amazonian explorer of the 20th century. Boston-born and Harvard-educated, he set off for the Amazon in 1941 for a six-month expedition. He was so entranced by the plants and the peoples of this great rainforest that he essentially extended this expedition for more than a decade. Now, interested readers can follow his journeys in an interactive, informational story map.

Schultes (1915-2001) first learned of the concept of “ethnobotany” in an undergraduate course at Harvard University taught by the prominent orchidologist Oakes Ames. After Schultes wrote his term paper on the traditionally revered peyote cactus (Lophophora williamsii, Cactaceae), Ames sent Schultes to Oklahoma to experience the sacred cactus firsthand in a traditional Kiowa tribal ceremony. Later, Schultes returned to Harvard, and decided to pursue a PhD under Ames, focusing on the “magic mushrooms” of Oaxaca, Mexico. As a newly-minted PhD, he headed south to the northwest Amazon to study arrow poisons from the curare vines (e.g., Chondrodendron tomentosum, Menispermaceae), which, at the time, were being used as pre-surgical muscle relaxants in abdominal surgeries.

Richard Evans Schultes

Young Richard Schultes taking tobacco snuff, May 1952 (photo: R.E. Schultes) via Harvard Square Library

Cartographer Brian Hettler of the Amazon Conservation Team decided to recount Schultes’s travels and research in a compelling new story map.1 With commentary and explanations supplied by this author, Hettler traces Schultes’s phenomenal journeys through the rainforest in search of healing plants. Using the capabilities of the story map format, Hettler has organized this information in a way that allows readers to click on a location and see photos of the location and/or the people that lived there. Perhaps even more impressive, readers can click on a list of plants collected by Schultes and see the actual herbarium specimen he collected in high resolution.

Hettler’s story map allows readers to follow the late ethnobotanist into some of the world’s most remote locales in search of exceedingly rare plants. It is hoped that this intriguing initiative will not only teach about the history and importance of the science of ethnobotany, but also will inspire others to use the story-map format to teach about botany in general, and medicinal herbs in particular, in new and compelling ways.

Mark J. Plotkin, PhD, is an ethnobotanist whose field research focuses on the plants and peoples of northern Amazonia. He currently serves as president of the Amazon Conservation Team, a nonprofit organization that conducts environmental and cultural sustainability activities in the Amazon basin (www.amazonteam.org). He is the author of several books and is a member of the American Botanical Council Advisory Board.

References

  1. Amazon Conservation Team. The Amazonian Travels of Richard Evans Schultes. Amazon Conservation Team website. Available at: http://amazonteam.org/maps/schultes/. Accessed May 4, 2016.
  2. Cox PA. Medicinal Plants and the Legacy of Richard E. Schultes. HerbalGram. 2013;98:73-75. Available at: http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbalgram/issue98/hg98bkrvw-schultes.html. Accessed May 4, 2016.
  3. Davis W. The Lost Amazon: The Photographic Journey of Richard Evans Schultes. HerbalGram. 2005;66:50-59. Available at: http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbalgram/issue66/article2831.html. Accessed May 4, 2016.
  4. Blumenthal M. The Lost Amazon: The Photographic Journey of Richard Evans Schultes. HerbalGram. 2005;65:73-74. Available at: http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbalgram/issue65/article2788.html. Accessed May 4, 2016.
  5. Davis W. One River: Excerpts from the new book about the life of ethnobotanist Richard Evans Schultes. HerbalGram. 1996;38:32. Available at:http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbalgram/issue38/article1219.html. Accessed May 4, 2016.

To travel further into the explorations of Amazonian peoples and sacred plant medicines with Richard Evans Schultes, explore Vine of the Soul: Medicine Men, Their Plants and Rituals in the Colombian Amazonia and Where the Gods Reign: Plants and Peoples of the Colombian Amazon written by Richard Evans Schultes himself.

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Raising Earth Consciousness at the Synergetic Symposium and Salon

Written by Michael Gosney

 

Here’s a report from our last symposium. New events coming in London and NYC this November, details found on this link: http://www.synergeticpress.com/understanding-ayahuasca-indigenous-origins-neo-shamanism/

On Wednesday April 6, 2016 a Synergetic Symposium and Salon was held at Synergia Ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This symposium and salon marked the first in a series of events with the goal of raising Earth Consciousness. One hundred and fifty people attended this high-frequency gathering entitled “Earth Consciousness and the Lore of the Amazon – Conversations on Ayahuasca, Ethnomedicine and the Biospheric Imperative.”

The crowd gathered in the geodesic dome at Synergia Ranch

The primary inspiration for the event was the forthcoming July release of the Ayahuasca Reader, but it also served as the launch of the Synergetic Press Earth Consciousness Campaign and seemed to be the perfect timing to bring together leaders on the cutting edge of psychedelic research in this year of rapid evolution. The event, featuring a 4 hour symposium, a gourmet dinner, and an evening Salon and dance party, was a resounding success. Video of the presentations will be available at synergeticpress.com in May, 2016.

The Symposium featured Dennis McKenna, providing an overview of the 45 year history and his journey of discovery with ayahuasca; Rick Doblin, presenting the new era of entheogenic/psychedelic-assisted therapy and the cutting edge research underway with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS); and Ralph Metzner providing a framework for understanding the process of shamanic use of psychedelics and consciousness expansion, along with an addendum to his talk on the importance of activism on both the drug decriminalization and environmental frontiers. The Symposium concluded with a panel discussion and Q&A with the presenters and moderator George Greer.

(Left to Right) Allan Badiner, Gay Dillingham, Valerie Plame Wilson, Ralph Metzner, Dennis McKenna, Michael Garfield

After dinner in separate Synergia Ranch buildings, guests returned the dome for the evening Salon portion of the event. Kicking off the evening was the Earth Consciousness Roundtable moderated by Zig Zag Zen editor Allan Badiner, with Ralph Metzner, Dennis McKenna, author and ex-CIA agent Valerie Plame, filmmaker Gay Dillingham (Dying to Know), and musician/artist Michael Garfield. The discussion touched on the broader aspects of raising Earth Consciousness, including biospheric science and social and political opportunities and challenges as well as further examination of the applications of plant teachers and synthetic compounds for therapy, personal growth and transformational work.

A “biospheric poetry” reading by John Dolphin Allen with Robert “Rio” Hahn providing visuals, provided the transition to the evening’s entertainment, starting with a dance performance by the Daughters of Lilith followed by musician Michael Garfield and DJs offering attendees a chance to dance with the incredible energy of the day.

More Synergetic Symposium Salons will follow, as well as the launch of the Earth Consciousness Campaign. This multi-level initiative will not only promote the release of the Ayahuasca Reader, but also widely disseminate essential information from the book and the work of its multiple contributors, who are in fact the world’s leading authorities on the subject. In addition, informing people and groups about the eco-evolutionary side of the equation, which means human stewardship vs. destruction of the biosphere. Indigenous wisdom/eco-psychology + biospheric science/sustainability solutions = Earth Consciousness. 

In conjunction with the Synergetic Symposium and Salon, Santa Fe Radio Café host Mary Charlotte welcomed several of the contributors to the salon to her show to deepen the discussion in raising Earth Consciousness. You can listen to the episodes below.

Don Lattin, Allan Badiner and Ralph Metzner

April 15, 2016

Allan Badiner activist and writer, contributing editor to Tricycle Magazine, editor of the new edition of Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics, published by Synergetic Press, on the board of the CBD Project
Ralph Metzner Psychologist, writer, founder of the Green Earth Foundation, author of many books, including Allies for Awakening and Green Psychology
Don Lattin Author and journalist; his books include Distilled Spirits, The Harvard Psychedelic Club, and his forthcoming books is titled, Changing Our Minds: The Reemergence of Psychedelics for Mental Health and Spiritual Growth.

 

 

ksfrgreerApril 11, 2016

Dr. George Greer conducted over 100 therapeutic sessions with MDMA for 80 individuals from 1980 to 1985 with his psychiatric nurse wife, Requa Tolbert. Their review of this work remains the largest published study of the therapeutic use of MDMA. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and Past President of the Psychiatric Medical Association of New Mexico. He is Co-Founder and Medical Director the Medical Director of the Heffter Research Institute since 1998.

 

 

ksfrmckApril 11, 2016

Dr. Dennis McKenna is an American ethnopharmacologist, research pharmacognosist, lecturer and author. He is the brother of well-known psychedelics proponent Terence McKenna and is a founding board member and the director of ethnopharmacology at the Heffter Research Institute, a non-profit organization concerned with the investigation of the potential therapeutic uses of psychedelic medicines.

 

 

ksfrdobApril 7, 2016

Dr. Rick Doblin is founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). His undergraduate thesis at New College of Florida was a twenty-five-year follow-up to the classic Good Friday Experiment. He wrote his doctoral dissertation (in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government) on the regulation of the medical uses of psychedelics. His professional goal is to help develop legal contexts for the beneficial uses of psychedelics and marijuana and eventually to become a legally licensed psychedelic therapist.

 

Sign up for our newsletter at synergeticpress.com to find out about upcoming events in this exciting series and for more news on Earth Consciousness.

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Raising Earth Consciousness on Earth Day

Raising Earth Consciousness

This Earth Day 2016 feels like a particularly poignant moment in the relationship between humans and the Earth. Just as on Mother’s Day we take extra time to reflect on our debt of gratitude to Her who gave us life, we similarly take the opportunity of raising Earth Consciousness on Earth Day to consider our connection with and appreciation for our Mother Earth.

Earth Day began in 1970 as a reflection of the growing awareness of our responsibility to the planet and the web of life – including us – that it supports. At the time the influence of Eastern spiritual thought and the introduction of psychedelics inspired a more holistic view of our relationship with the natural world. The realization dawned that our industrialized civilization was having negative impacts on the biosphere and that environmental protection was a growing necessity.

In the following video, Allan Badiner, editor of Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics, discusses the connection between psychedelics and Earth consciousness, and the importance of these ideas in the Anthropocene.
(read more below the video)

Observing Earth Day in the Anthropocene

As we reflect on the Earth in the early decades of the 21st Century, we see radical imbalance. The Ecologist reported that climate scientists have reached a consensus that human activity has been driving climate change. There is a growing recognition that we have entered a new geological time period known as the Anthropocene. The Anthropocene Working Group has found that “humanity’s impacts on Earth should now be regarded as pervasive and sufficiently distinctive to justify a separate classification.”

Humans have introduced entirely novel changes, geologically speaking, such as the roughly 300m metric tonnes of plastic produced annually. Concrete has become so prevalent in construction that more than half of all the concrete ever used was produced in the past 20 years.

Wildlife, meanwhile, is being pushed into an ever smaller area of the Earth, with just 25% of ice-free land considered wild now compared to 50% three centuries ago. As a result, rates of extinction of species are far above long-term averages.

But the study says perhaps the clearest fingerprint humans have left, in geological terms, is the presence of isotopes from nuclear weapons testing that took place in the 1950s and 60s.

The Guardian

We can feel overwhelmed when we see the environment faced with so many threats. How do we begin to change our lives in ways that will have a meaningful impact on the global situation? We need to embrace the challenge of living in harmony with the planet.

A new kind of nature is being created, one that is shaped by humanity. It consists of the sum of all the changes caused by humans on earth.

As we come into a deep understanding of the impact of our actions on the global community, Nature is calling us to redesign our lifestyles, adopt new social structures, rewrite the codes of our major institutions, and regenerate the planet’s natural systems. To do this requires breaking free from conditioned consumerism and enforced separation.  We have the responsibility to care for the Earth by making choices that support the flourishing of the planet and its people, from our next-door neighbors to the members of remote tribes. This responsibility is also to ourselves, as we owe our existence to this interdependent web of life. By making changes in our lives at the individual level, we will see that change reflected in the whole world.

Taking on Earth Consciousness – and Taking Action

Now is the time—the critical moment on our timeline—to leverage the overarching vision and tools afforded by our understanding of Earth Sciences and the wisdom provided by traditional indigenous cultures. The message of Earth consciousness is growing louder. It reaches us from the voices of Amazonian plant teachers, such as ayahuasca, and from indigenous wisdom. Scientists have been confirming the healing effects of these ancient sources of wisdom, affirming the use of these tools that lead us to a more integrative, whole system perspective of our relationship to the biosphere.

By changing our habits and activating solutions, we can regenerate the planet; by changing our hearts and spreading compassion, we can heal the world. This Earth Day, you can try one of the four daily practices of love and gratitude for the Earth shared by Pachamama Alliance. By working with practices such as these, or any way that you feel deepens your connection to Pachamama, Mother Earth, we grow in Earth Consciousness.

Get the Code!

Books are some of the most powerful tools to we have to evolve our consciousness and guide our actions. Synergetic Press publishes books that carry the code of a sustainable, regenerative, thriving human future. We focus primarily on Earth science and evolving human consciousness, which we see as complementary aspects of humanity’s continuing evolution. See some of the titles below to explore the ideas that form the foundation of Earth Consciousness.

anthropocene_720Me and the Biospheres

Wastewater-Gardner-Coverayahuascacoverfront_coverzig_zag_zen_front_covervineofthesoulcover

 

 

 

 

 

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