December 8, 2021

Could psychedelic drugs help solve the climate crisis?

They could foster greater environmental awareness and motivate people to act in more environmentally responsible ways

Last week BioEdge highlighted a new book about the potential for drugs to enhance romantic relationships. This week we are reporting a similar proposal to resolve the climate crisis.

Writing in The Conversation, Matthew Adams, a psychologist at the University of Brighton, in the UK, says that psychedelic drugs could help overcome inaction in the face of the climate crisis.

Psychedelics increase people’s positive feelings of connectedness both to others and to the natural world. Recent research published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health suggests that “ administering controlled amounts of psychedelic drugs to people while they are immersed in natural environments could hold potential for fostering greater environmental awareness and the motivation to act in more environmentally responsible ways”.

Obviously the problem is larger than individual responses. But at the heart of anthropogenic global warming is a cold-heartedness toward nature. Adams suggest that:

Maybe, just maybe, the profound experiential connectedness arising from psychedelic experiences in nature is analogous to the application of a defibrillator following cardiac arrest. Perhaps psychedelics could give us the shock that is needed to restart the beating heart of ecological awareness before it is too late.

Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge

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