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***See below for a complete topic breakdown.***

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Psychedelics increase nature-relatedness

What does that mean? Well, it means that after taking psychedelics, our sense of self is more integrated with our perception of nature. But why does this matter? Because an increased connection with nature has vast benefits to the wellbeing of a person, and thus to that person’s community, and perhaps, even their society as well. 

Additionally, it is quite probable that our civilization’s disconnection from nature is both perpetuating, and is perpetuated by, our ongoing destruction of planarity ecology. Can we draw these two facts together to create a claim such as,

psychedelics will help us solve the climate crisis

We could make that claim. But would that make it true? No

However, what might be true is that an increased sense of nature-relatedness and its consequential increase of pro-environmental behaviors and support of political policies focuses on protecting nature from excessive human extracvism could help us with the climate crisis. 

But at the very least, it is true that “nature relatedness has been found to be associated with lower levels of anxiety, a greater perceived meaning in life, higher vitality, higher psychological functioning, greater happiness and positive affect.” [source] These things alone give credence to the value of increase nature-relatedness, and psychedelics increase nature-relatedness. 

But does this fact give credence to psychedelics having a positive part to play in the climate crisis? 

Welcome, Dr. Sam Gandy to Adventures Through The Mind. 

Sam Gandy has his Ph.D. in ecological science from the University of Aberdeen and an MRes in entomology from Imperial College London. He has a lifelong interest in nature and wildlife and has been fortunate enough to conduct field research in various parts of the world including the UK, Kefalonia, Almeria, Texas, the Peruvian Amazon, Vietnam and Ethiopia. He also has experience of working in the psychedelic field, as past scientific assistant to the director of the Beckley Foundation, and currently as a collaborator with the Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London.

Sam has a particular research interest in the intersection of two of his big passions…nature and psychedelics…and the potential of psychedelics to reconnect our increasingly disconnected species to the natural world, for the betterment of humanity and the biosphere at large.

He is also one of the lead authors on a paper titled: From Egoism to Ecoism: Psychedelics Increase Nature Relatedness in a State-Mediated and Context- Dependent Manner.

Sam Gandy is on the show to explore where the scientific observation that psychedelics increase nature-relatedness does and does not weave into our facing of the climate crisis.


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Episode Breakdown

  • the transformative power of awe in the psychedelic experience
  • psychological disconnect and the climate crises
  • some criticism of Extinction Rebellion’s Gale Bradbrook’s comments at Breaking Convention
  • nature-relatedness and its connection to pro-environmental behaviors
  • eco-anxiety and  environmental melancholia
  • the ecological costs of civilization’s materialist success
  • Gandy’s research showing that psychedelics increase nature-relatedness
  • the difference between nature-relatedness and nature-immersion
  • the massive diversity of benefits of nature immersion
  • the connection between nature-relatedness and pro-sociability
  • nature-immersion and nature-connection increase capacity for self-reflection
  • psychedelics as tools for eco-therapy
  • ego-dissolution and the impact of nature-immersion
  • how nature immersion might fit in clinical practice with psychedelic therapy
  • the sense of ‘connection’ and its value in positive outcomes with psilocybin for depression
  • the practice of acknowledging nature and the value it offers our wellbeing and cognition
  • microdosing the forest
  • there’s something special about psilocybin over other psychedelics
  • are psychedelics “agents” or “tools”?
  • psilocybin is more like ayahuasca than LSD
  • future research with psilocybin and nature-relatedness
  • what is psilocybin’s role in nature? Debunking the insect repellant theory
  • the failures of sensationalist reporting on psychedelic science
  • psychedelics will not save us from the climate crisis, but they might help
  • the risks of going mainstream 
  • why I won’t read Michael Pollan’s How To Change Your Mind
  • the value of feeling the grief and pain of ecological destruction
  • the wellbeing benefits of accepting unpleasant emotional state
  • details about Sam Gandy’s upcoming research plans and contact details

Related Links

From Egoism to Ecoism: Psychedelics Increase Nature Relatedness in a State-Mediated and Context- Dependent Manner

This is the research paper Gandy and I discussed in the episode. It presents their findings on the increase of nature-relatedness after psychedelic use, as well as an in-depth discussion about the impact of nature relatedness on wellbeing and cognition.

COULD PSYCHEDELICS HELP TO HEAL THE CRISIS OF DISCONNECTION? [article written by Sam Gandy and Rosalind Watts)
Psychedelic Biophilia: From Egoism to Ecoism [Sam’s lecture from Breaking Convention 2019] From Egoism to Ecoism: Psychedelics and Nature Connection [Sam’s TED talk from 2019]

Connect with Sam Gandy on Facebook | Follow Sam Gandy on Twitter

Reigniting Our Sense Of Awe With Psilocybin Mushrooms [and article I wrote back in 2013 about the power of psychedelics to reawaken our enthusiasm for life.]


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