Earth Day 2019 and Protecting Our Biosphere

Earth Day 2019 and Protecting Our Biosphere

Earth Day 2019 & Protecting Our Biosphere

Earth Day began on April 22nd, 1970, as millions of people took to the streets to protest the negative impacts of 150 years of industrial development. Earth Day offers an important opportunity for us to acknowledge the relationship between humanity and the earth.

Earth Day now serves as a day to reflect and cultivate awareness for the responsibility that we have towards our planet and the interconnected web of life that it sustains. It is similar to Mother’s Day in that it involves the cultivation of gratitude for the Source, Mother Nature, which gifted us with this precious life. However, it also encourages us to come together, get creative, and start enacting change.

The national theme of Earth Day this year is ‘Protect Our Species’. Human activity on the planet has irreversibly upset the balance of life and, as a consequence, the planet is facing the largest rate of extinction since the loss of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period 65 million years ago. Unlike the fate of the dinosaurs, the extinction of species today is a result of human activity rather than of a force of Nature.

The Anthropocene Era

In our industrialized, globalized paradigm we have become increasingly disconnected from the natural world at our own peril, with the problems being numerous and multifaceted. Ecologically speaking, we live in turbulent times with the Anthropocene era being one of rapid change. We currently inhabit a world where our oceans are filled with plastic, a world where the problems of deforestation and climate change are becoming a looming reality, a world undergoing a dramatic loss of biodiversity, with new problems arising every day.

From Micro-to-Macro; You Make a Difference

Getting stuck in sentiments of hopelessness and disempowerment, while feeling that our voices and actions do not matter, is all too easy. However, Earth Day offers the opportunity to reflect on our actions and implement changes that enable us to carve out a symbiotic paradigm between our species and the biosphere.

In line with the words of the great primatologist, Jane Goodall, we need to recognize that the choices we make have an impact and that what we do in our personal lives makes a difference on a global level:

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.”

To help you along the way, we have included two simple things that you can implement into your life on a daily basis as methods to combat this ecological crisis:

1. Boycott single-use plastics:

Plastic was invented in 1907 and popularized in the 1960s as a high-density polyethylene that was inexpensive to manufacture. Its inventors could have not predicted its catastrophic effect on our Biosphere and the biomes within it. Plastic is a major threat to our environment, with plastic pollution being particularly problematic to aquatic life.

The problem with plastic is that it does not biodegrade, instead breaking down into microplastics which are consumed by other organisms. In recent years, there have been numerous cases reported in which whales have washed up ashore dead due to the ingestion of plastic. Moreover, plastic ends up in the digestive systems of smaller organisms like fish which inevitably end up in our food chain.

Although it can be difficult to boycott plastic altogether, we can take small actions on a daily basis to minimize our consumption. For instance, remembering to bring a reusable bag or reusing one we already have, saying no to straws, sourcing environmentally friendly toothbrushes, owning a reusable water bottle, buying biodegradable bin liners, bringing a food container and buying plastic-free cosmetics all make a huge difference.

A report from the World Economic Forum calculated that if plastic production continues at its current rate that there will be more plastic in the ocean, pound for pound, than fish by the year 2050. Reducing our plastic consumption and making informed, sustainable choices is one of the most effective ways to protect our species.

2. Eating less & better quality meat:

A report by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Administration in 2013 found that livestock and poultry make up roughly 14.5% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, estimated as 100-year CO2 equivalents. Methane has a global warming potential estimated to be 35 times that of an equivalent mass of carbon dioxide.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, in the Amazon “around 17% of the forest has been lost in the last 50 years, mostly due to forest conversion for cattle ranching.” The Amazonian rainforest is the world’s largest, sometimes referred to as the ‘lungs of the Earth’ because it is thought that more than 20% of the world’s oxygen is produced there. Moreover, the Amazon is one of the world’s most biodiverse regions. It is estimated to be home of 390 billion trees, among them 16,000 different species, and is the tribal home of 1 million indigenous people.

Cattle ranching alongside the production of soya as cattle feed is a major contributor to deforestation, the displacement of indigenous groups, and the destruction of entire ecosystems. Moreover, the production of factory-raised cattle is often associated with toxic fertilizers and pesticides, resulting in an even more damaging carbon footprint.

These crucial forests are not only incredibly biodiverse but also serve to absorb carbon dioxide and have a cooling effect on the earth. In order to protect them, it is important for us to be aware of the source of our meat. Grass-fed cows have a symbiotic relationship with the land that they graze, clearing pastures to encourage new plant growth and helping build productive soil with nutrient-rich compostable manure. Fertile soil helps to keep carbon monoxide at bay, decreasing methane emissions.

Producing one calorie of meat requires nearly twenty times the amount of energy as one plant calorie. Thus, by cutting down on meat consumption and sourcing locally raised, grass-fed meat we can reduce the carbon footprint of the planet drastically.

 

To help you deepen your understanding of our beloved planet, we are offering 25% on all books in the field of ecology & sustainability. Browse titles here.

Save 25% from now until April 30th with the coupon code: Earth2019

 

Get Involved!

Local Events this Earth Day 

Earth Day Celebration in Santa Fe’s Railyard Park, April 27th @ 12:00-4:00 PM

Join the Railyard Park Conservancy in for a free day of learning, games, workshops and family-friendly fun!

Enjoy an illuminating day in the sun at Santa Fe’s award-winning green space, The Railyard Park, to celebrate the Earth and local biodiversity in honor of 2019’s national Earth Day theme: Protect our Species.

We will be joining together to learn about the unique biodiversity of New Mexico and its treasure trove of plants, animals, and geology with a number of interactive activities. Workshops include: making seed balls with the SFPS Sustainability Program, learning how to plant a native garden with the SF Botanical Garden, and learning about local dairy production with Camino de Paz School, just to name a few.

Keep up to date with the Railyard Park’s cool and interesting events through their Facebook @railyardpark or webpage.

Earth Day Cleanups

The Earth Day Network is coordinating volunteer cleanups across the US for Earth Day 2019. They are working with grassroots organizations and community members to clean up green spaces, urban landscapes, and waterways. With cleanup locations in cities across the U.S., the Earth Day 2019 Cleanup will build an army of volunteers and make a tangible impact on waste in our environments.

Find a cleanup near you! Learn more about Earth Day Network events @EarthDayNetwork.

Bicycle Day 2019 and the History of LSD

Bicycle Day 2019 and the History of LSD

From Mystic Chemist: “This portrait of Albert Hofmann by German artist Bernd Brummbär, was painted in homage ‘to the great biochemist, inventor of LSD and courageous pioneer of altered states of consciousness,’ 2007”

Celebrating Bicycle Day 2019

The celebration of ‘Bicycle Day’  does not commemorate the invention of our favorite two-wheeled vehicle, it serves as an homage to the day that Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann first intentionally ingested Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (otherwise known as LSD) in a self-experiment to ascertain its effects.

What does that even have to do with bicycles? On April 19th, 1943, Hofmann ingested 250 micrograms of the substance, believing it to be a threshold dose of the drug (later he learned that a threshold dose was a mere 20 micrograms). About an hour after ingesting the drug, Hofmann began to feel its effects take hold, asking his laboratory assistant to escort him home that evening. However, due to wartime restrictions cars were prohibited; they had to travel home by bicycle. He later wrote: 

“I suddenly became strangely inebriated. The external world became changed as in a dream. Objects appeared to gain in relief; they assumed unusual dimensions; and colors became more glowing. Even self-perception and the sense of time were changed. When the eyes were closed, colored pictures flashed past in a quickly changing kaleidoscope. After a few hours, the not unpleasant inebriation, which had been experienced whilst I was fully conscious, disappeared. What had caused this condition?” Jonathan Ott, Albert Hofmann (1997) Pharmacotheon: Entheogenic Drugs, Their Plant Sources and History

A Significant Discovery

Immediately, Hofmann became fascinated by LSD’s ability to induce changes in consciousness. Through his LSD experience, he gained a new view of reality, becoming aware of the wonder of creation and the miracle of the natural world. This new insight led to LSD being researched as an aid to perception within the fields psychiatry and psychology. LSD was investigated for its abilities to treat addictions such as alcoholism, as well as for its ability to facilitate creative thinking.

However, before long, research into this fascinating substance came to a halt. LSD had escaped the hands of the research community and fallen into those of popular culture causing an ideological revolution in the younger generation and giving birth to a psychedelic culture. The result was Nixon’s ‘War on Drugs’, demonizing psychoactive substances, ruling out their possible medical value, and making them illegal.  

In recent years, we are seeing a renaissance in psychedelic research with studies consistently illuminating the therapeutic and transformative potentials of substances like LSD. A recent study by Imperial College revealed how LSD changes brain connectivity alongside research from the University of Zurich, demonstrating how LSD can have a therapeutic effect. 

To help you celebrate Hofmann’s legendary bicycle ride, we are offering 25% on

The Mystic Chemist, and all related titles. Browse related titles here.

Mystic Chemist: The Life of Albert Hofmann and His Discovery of LSD

mystic chemist albert hofmannBy Dieter Hagenbach & Lucius Werthmüller

Mystic Chemist is the authoritative biography on arguably the most famous chemist of the 20th century. Authors Hagenbach and Werthmüller, close friends of Hofmann, take us on a journey through the 20th century from his mystical childhood experiences with nature; to his chemistry studies with Nobel Prize winner Paul Karrer in Zurich through his discoveries of both LSD and psilocybin at Sandoz; to his adventurous expeditions and his many years of retirement devoted to philosophy of nature and a rich social life. The authors also reveal a thorough and eventful history of the impact that LSD had on culture and the ensuing struggles between its advocates and opponents, many of which persist today.

Save 25% from now until April 30th with the coupon code: Bicycle2019

Albert Hofmann’s discovery of LSD, the most potent mind-expanding substance ever found, was an event of multiple synchronicities – it occurred in 1943 in Switzerland, a neutral country, within months of the building of the atomic bomb – as if it was to be a kind of psychospiritual healing antidote to mass death weapons. It occurred in a country with a centuries-long tradition of alchemy, the psychospiritual counterpoint to reductionist material science – and involved a previously unknown substance that could induce integrative expansions of awareness with profound implications for healing, for creative problem-solving, and for cosmological understanding. Albert Hofmann had the scientific and spiritual insight to recognize the enormous significance of his discovery and spent the rest of his long life exploring it with an ever-widening international circle of fellow scientists, artists, and visionary explorers. The authors of this biography have done a marvelous job of pulling together documentation and commentary, not only about Hofmann and LSD but also the socio-cultural and political upheavals of the 1960s, during which LSD and all mind-expanding drugs played an enormous role – and were made illegal. The story of LSD and its potential role in society is however far from over, as Hofmann himself also thought. Please read this book and stay tuned.ーRalph Metzner PhD

Albert Hofmann & the History of LSD

 

Celebrate Bicycle Day at San Francisco’s Midway

Presented by Euphonic Conceptions & The Legion Of BloomSan Francisco’s April Bicycle Day Celebration is not only a concert, but a petri dish of creativity, inspiration, and sensory stimulation. World-renowned visionary artists doing live painting, an immersive art gallery and exhilarating performances all play a large role in this annual festivity that is always packed to the brim with heart-opening experiences.

The event will feature: The Polish Ambassador (LIVE), Slow Magic, Rob Garza(of Thievery Corporation), BluetechWyatt Marshall (Dirtybird / Desert Hearts), MiHKALEl PapachangoDISSØLV, Evan Casey (Desert Hearts), Justin Campbell (Desert Hearts).

There will be LIVE VISUAL ART by Android Jones with Art Gallery by Tribe13 Gallery, an ever-growing collective of artists who share a passion for transformative expression.

Interested in learning more about the event? Delve deeper, and buy tickets here, or go to the event’s Facebook page. 

Psychedelic Integration Week at Esalen

Psychedelic Integration Week at Esalen

‘Contemplation’, 1990 by Francesco Clemente

Psychedelic Integration Week at Esalen

Psychedelic Integration Week comprised a full 6-days of talks, workshops, and conversations, taking place from March 31st-April 5th at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. The event was a week-long exploration of the particular challenges and opportunities unique to this moment in human history. As a species, we inhabit a very critical time period in which we face a global ecological crisis. Thus, the Psychedelic Integration workshop aimed to examine how psychedelic medicine can help us to move forward in an ecologically holistic and personally integral way.

Among the workshop leaders were Allan Badiner, Rick Doblin, Michael Pollan, Ben Sessa, and Stanislav Grof, just to name a few.  Leaders provided an opportunity to learn about the latest research findings as well as facilitated interactive discussions on themes as they arose.

Learn more about the workshop leaders here

Why Does Psychedelic Integration Matter?

Globally we are experiencing a renaissance of research into psychedelics, with psychoactive substances becoming more commonly accepted. Due to accumulative research illuminating their therapeutic, medicinal, and spiritual benefits, substances like MDMA, psilocybin, LSD, and ayahuasca are making a reappearance in public awareness.

The term ‘psychedelic’ literally means ‘mind-manifesting’, and was originally coined by the English psychiatrist Humphrey Osmond. Osmond was a close friend of the well-known writer, and psychonaut, Aldous Huxley, with the term first being suggested when the two men were exploring ways to refer to the unique category of substances that we able to provide access to the visionary state.

To fathom Hell or soar angelic,

take a pinch of psychedelic. —Humphrey Osmond

Thus, the ‘mind-manifesting’ nature of these substances alongside the fact of their global resurgence call attention to the necessity of integration. When we speak about ‘integration’ in this context, we refer to the incorporation of valuable insights from the visionary state into our daily lives. In short, these substances have the potential to offer opportunities for growth, transformation, and self-insight, but only if we willing to work with them after the fact, and incorporate their teachings into our lives to create long-lasting change.

More About the Workshop Leaders:

Allan Badiner

Allan Badiner served as the editor in the first and second editions of Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics, as well as two other books of collected essays, Dharma Gaia: A Harvest in Buddhism and Ecology and Mindfulness in the Marketplace: Compassionate Responses to Consumerism. Allan is a contributing editor of Tricycle magazine, and serves on the board of directors of Rainforest Action Network, Threshold Foundation and Project CBD. He has been a student of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh for over than 25 years.

Stanislav Grof

Stanislav Grof,  M.D., Ph.D., is a psychiatrist with more than fifty years of experience researching the healing and transformative potentials of non-ordinary states of consciousness. His groundbreaking theories influenced the integration of Western science with his brilliant mapping of the transpersonal dimension, being one of the founders and chief theoreticians of Transpersonal Psychology. Currently, Dr. Grof is Professor of Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco, CA. Among his publications are over 150 papers in professional journals and many books including Beyond the Brain, LSD Psychotherapy, Psychology of the Future, The Cosmic Game, and HR Giger and the Zeitgeist of the Twentieth Century.

Rick Doblin

Rick Doblin, Ph.D., is the founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). He received his doctorate in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Rick studied with Dr. Stanislav Grof and was among the first to be certified as a Holotropic Breathwork practitioner. His professional goal is to help develop legal contexts for the beneficial uses of psychedelics and marijuana, primarily as prescription medicines but also for personal growth for otherwise healthy people, and eventually to become a legally licensed psychedelic therapist. 

 

About the Esalen Institute 

The Esalen Institute is more than a retreat center or an educational institute. Anchored by the inspiring beauty of Big Sur and an unparalleled intellectual history, Esalen is a worldwide network of seekers who look beyond dogma to explore deeper spiritual possibilities; forge new understandings of self and society; and pioneer new paths for change. They offer up to 600 workshops and programs per year devoted to cultivating deep change in self and society.

Check out @EsalenInstitute on Facebook to keep up-to-date their upcoming events. 

 

Featured artwork: “Contemplation” 1990 by Francesco Clemente

Arizona Psychedelics Conference 2019

Arizona Psychedelics Conference 2019

 

Volunteer, Robert Hoberg, holding a copy of ‘Ethnopharmacologic Search for Psychoactive Drugs’ at the Synergetic Booth.

 

The First of its Kind

We were delighted to attend the first-ever conference related to the medicinal and therapeutic properties of psychoactive substances in the state of Arizona: The Arizona Psychedelics Conference! The conference, hosted by Entheogenic Research Awareness (ERA) at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM) at the University of Tempe, Arizona, took place February 8-10th 2019. While there, we met and connected with many like-minded and inspiring people who are dedicated to furthering the discussion on this important topic.

The 3-day event featured over 40 speakers including, among many others, Bia Labate, Brad Burge, Joe Moore, Mike Magolies, Kyle Buller, and Joe Tafur. The lineup was far-ranging and diverse, with speakers from varied backgrounds and disciplines such as anthropology, psychology, and neuroscience in addition to therapeutic practitioners, indigenous healers, herbalists, and veterans. Among the specific substances discussed were MDMA, cannabis, ayahuasca, ibogaine, psilocybin, 5-meo-DMT, kambo, peyote, ketamine, and San Pedro cactus . While the therapeutic use and potential risks of these visionary plant medicines and psychoactive substances was the focus of many workshops, attendees also had the opportunity to discuss important issues related to the responsible use of psychedelics in modern societies in workshops on issues of cultural appropriation, ecological sustainability, and healthcare as a human right.

A Revolution in Medicine

As the general public and medical practitioners become more aware of the age-old use of psychoactive substances as tools of spiritual and mental well-being, many previously stigmatized substances are increasingly viewed as valuable to our future growth and development. Conferences like this provide a beneficial opportunity for enthusiasts and experts to come together to expand their knowledge in order to continue to work with these powerful substances from an informed standpoint.

Congratulations are in order to the event organizers, Amanda and Raymond Ryskowski, for their massive personal efforts to make this inspired dream a reality. The event itself was so well-received, both by members of the university’s medical faculty and the general public, that it sold out quickly and more tickets had to be issued to enable more people to attend and learn about this growing field of research. We expect that this was the first in a succession of ‘Arizona Psychedelic Conferences’, and we look forward to being at more in futures to come!

 

Interested in learning more? Check out the conference video below, queued to the section in which our publisher, Deborah Snyder, discusses some of our featured titles:

 

 

 

 

 

About the Organizers

The conference was hosted by Entheogenic Research Awareness (ERA), a student-run organization based at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM) at the University of Tempe, Arizona. ERA is led by Amanda Ryskowski and Elliot Zyglis. ERA’s vision is to help create a new paradigm for healthcare which honors indigenous peoples and their knowledge of the natural world, integrating such understanding with the highest standards of evidence-based medicine. Their focus is to educate medical professionals and the general public about entheogens, and their potential applications in medicine through the integration of traditional uses alongside the current research on these powerful substances.

Check @ERA.SCNM out on Facebook to keep up-to-date with their future events.

In Memoriam, Dr. Ralph Metzner (1936-2019)

In Memoriam, Dr. Ralph Metzner (1936-2019)

Ralph in 1963, photographer unknown

In Loving Memory of the Visionary Ralph Metzner

Psychologist, writer, pioneer in the field of psychedelic and consciousness research, Dr. Ralph Metzner passed away peacefully in his sleep earlier this week, March 14, 2019. He was truly an asset to this planet and will be greatly missed by us all.

Ralph was always far beyond his time and will be remembered for histories to come. He traversed the boundaries of traditional psychology through the integration of shamanic techniques that alter consciousness, and enable us a deepened awareness of the human psyche. As a graduate student in the early 1960s, Ralph worked closely with Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (later Ram Dass) on the Harvard research into psilocybin. Beyond research, in the 1970s Ralph’s focus shifted to the intensive study and practice of yoga, incorporating a meditative system of life-energy into his work. Furthermore, he was a brilliant author, and some of his books include: Searching for the Philosophers’ Stone; Encounters with Mystics, Scientists, and Healers, Ecology of Consciousness; The Alchemy of Personal, Collective, and Planetary Transformation, Birth of a Psychedelic Culture and many more.

A planetary steward, Ralph was the founder and president of the Green Earth Foundation which strove to harmonize human understanding with the planet that we live in. In 2014, Ralph was interviewed by Michael Gosney at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) Conference in Oakland, California regarding his views on ecology for the Eco Evolution Podcast. This podcast examines the ecological crisis that we are living through, illuminating the fact that our relationship to the divine has been severed.

“The idea that the spiritual and the natural are opposed or that spirituality must always transcend nature is a culturally relative concept not shared by non-monotheistic religions or traditional societies. In indigenous cultures around the world the natural world is regarded as the realm of spirit and the sacred; the natural is the spiritual. From this follows an attitude of respect, a desire to maintain a balanced relationship…-in short, sustainability.” Ralph Metzner, “The Psychopathology of the Human-Nature Relationship,” 1995

Listen to the podcast in full here.

A Tribute to Our Beloved Friend

Dr. Ralph Metzner and publisher, Deborah Parrish Snyder, when she visited him in his home late November 2018.

“Our beloved Ralph Metzner, pioneer in consciousness research, left the planet early this morning. His friends agree, there is no person better prepared for death than Ralph. As he makes the ultimate transition, I say so long, friend, as you transcend, know how much wisdom you have left behind, and how we treasure you.” Deborah Parrish Snyder, Synergetic Press Publisher

Global treasure Ralph Metzner, one of those on whose shoulders our evolving consciousness stands, passed over today. A quickening in the force as his human wisdom and inspiring journey informs the broader Gaiamind.

As the relatively obscure member of the “Harvard Psychedelic Club” trio, unlike Leary and Alpert he kept pushing the envelope in the field of psychology all the way until his final days, studying, researching, teaching, evolving. He held the first major conference on Ayahuasca in San Francisco in 2002 (we produced the private after party at the Anon Salon space), and was the guide of the guides one might say, in fostering the neo-shamanic movement of psychedelic Work, a culture just now making its way out of the underground as psychedelic-assisted therapy emerges as a new legal paradigm of caregiving and life enrichment, and a new respect for the spiritual and healing powers of ayahuasca, fungi and other plant teacher/healers dawns. He was a thoughtful, very kind man, and from early on saw the need for awareness and care of our planetary body while we are taking our human journey, as expressed through his Green Earth Foundation and contributions to the Eco-Psychology movement. His newest book, just released, is a wonderful biographical account “Searching for the Philosophers’ Stone: Encounters with Mystics, Scientists, and Healers”. He explored and taught us about the passage of death, making his own transition all the more poignant. As is often the case with our visionaries, his work and life’s legacy will now be more widely recognized, and we hope received, by the mainstream.

May your path bring more light, love, and life to you dear friend. Thank you from all of us.” —Michael Gosney, Synergetic Press Associate Publisher

An Exploration into Other Worlds

In 2013, Ralph collaborated with us to commemorate the publication of The Mystic Chemist, in the Collected Works Bookstore, Santa Fe, NM. In this talk, Ralph recounts personal stories of his extraordinary experiences into Other Worlds, whilst reflecting on the life of the late Albert Hoffman. 

Meditations on Mortality

After Ralph’s departure, it is comforting to have video footage from an interview taken for the revolutionary documentary, DMT: The Spirit Molecule, exposing his thoughts on the nature of death. Being avidly involved with research into psychoactive substances, Ralph discusses the ability of these mind-manifesting substances to transform our conception of death, helping us to evaporate fear in the realization that we are not our bodies, and that there is ultimately “nothing to be afraid of.”

Ralph, you were truly an inspiration and a guide to all that met you, the world has yet to digest the lessons that you spent your life teaching. 

R.I.P. Ralph Metzner (1936-2019)

 

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