Sam Ripples
by on July 23, 2019

The first time I truly communed with nature, I was under the influence of LSD.

The sky was a special shade of blue and it shone through the tops of the pine trees dripping Spanish moss like long gray beards. Those beards waved in the wind, shadows crossing over our bodies as we strode in and out of the shade of the canopy. It was a warm day and leaves rustled beneath our feet. We sat in a loose circle of camping chairs, passing a joint around us, and a small but merry fire crackled in the pit dug in the soil. A man in a tie-dyed mumu cooked hot dogs for everyone over its heat.

I was standing to the side, staring at the spaces between the trees. They seemed to open up, to hold doorways to the future.

“I realized something,” I said aloud, and my friend Kristina looked up from her hands, a warm smile on her face. “Our generation will be the same age as our parents when climate change starts to happen.”

The smile melted off of her face. “That’s comforting,” she said sarcastically.

I shook my head. “Maybe we can try to do something, our generation. Maybe we can try to fix it.”

The crease in her eyebrows softened. “I suppose. We’ll have to do a lot.”

I gestured around me. “Well, isn’t our home worth saving?”

We both stared out at the majesty, the vivid green of the happy spring trees, at the lush grass that grew like a carpet in the field just beyond our campsite, at the graying beards of the pine trees that swayed in the music of the wind. It all danced together. It all flowed.

The smile returned to her face. “Of course.”

My boyfriend and I talk about it all the time — often, when one of us comes home in a bad mood, we’ll invariably end our rants to each other by exclaiming that none of it matters because humanity is going to screw itself in our lifetime, so what’s the point anyway?! It’s probably not a healthy way to deal with stress, but we both feel separated from our peers in that we’re incredibly, deeply concerned about climate change.

When I talk to my coworkers and friends about it, their own pressing life concerns seem to be used to minimize and deflect from this particular topic. I feel like everyone is in denial about this and it irks me to no end. It’s hard because I don’t want to be a downer or anything, but it doesn’t make sense. Haven’t they even thought about it? Where will we go? Would it be better for the planet anyway?

“Environmental anxiety” is a hot buzzword on the Internet these days, but it’s not a fun thing to feel.

It hurts to have had such amazingly beautiful experiences connecting to nature and being awed by its immensity and bravado, then having thoughts of us disappearing and being almost glad for it, given how awful humanity has been to the planet. I know that nature will carry on and continue changing in its own strange cycles, but I hate to be responsible for any life lost, and every day feels like I can’t help but contribute my own part in this eventual end — there will always be plastic or gasoline or coal burning in the power plant in the middle of town, billowing dirty clouds across the mountains.

Every time I ingest psychedelics, the only thing I crave is to be outdoors. It doesn’t matter how exciting some silly indoor activity may be, I want to be running, my feet flying over the dirt, experiencing the thrill of this amazing world and taking in the beauty around me. These experiences have been pivotal in my feeling that everything in nature is connected. It’s hard to take the world for granted when there’s so much beauty you were blind to before suddenly revealed before your awe-struck eyes.

I don’t know if feeling this deeply for the planet is a symptom of madness or of deep connection, but I like to think its the latter. Taking these amazing substances has not only helped me to understand my own mind better, but it has also been a tool for change in my life and catalyst for greater things than could be had just by taking a tab. It has also overwhelmed me with compassion, not only for myself and others but for nature and every living thing around me. I don’t like to kill anything, even bugs that are scary or disgusting. How could I feel okay about killing this beautiful planet, even in contributing a small part?

Psychedelics have turned me into a full-on environmentalist.

The city of Denver voted to decriminalize mushrooms recently, paving the way for progressive drug policy in the future. It will truly be a revolution in human science and technology if things like mushrooms and LSD can urge our minds into higher plateaus and be used to treat certain types of mental illness.Of course not everyone should take these substances, but for certain individuals, they can change a worldview and can inspire new ideas never previously thought of. Imagine a truly open world where those great minds could get an even greater leg up — we’ll surely need it in our difficult future.

Think of the harvest moon peeking through the trees, glowing gold in the deep twilight, a beacon of hope. The rainstorm outside of your window, tracing the raindrops with your fingers down the glass , open-mouthed as lightning fizzles and thunder crackles across the sky. Psychedelics return us to that raw, childlike state, and maybe that’s what we need to help us all change our world.

Perhaps one day we’ll all be environmentalists, advocating for the earth we feel such a deep and lasting bond of love for, this planet that has left us almost gasping with beauty. Imagine a future that bright.

We’ll need all the hope we can get.

Joe C
I think that climate change is more likely to be solved by technological innovation than by a reduction in consumption. This might seem unrealistic, but iPhones seemed unrealistic a couple decades ago. Right now there is a marriage of environmentalism and left-wing ideology generally, which scares a...more
July 23, 2019