Saturday, May 25Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Happy Earth Day!

Inspired by the giant Oil Spill in Santa Barbara, California in January 1969, the first Earth Day of April 22nd 1970 was an American movement spanning coast to coast, uniting senators to students and a total of 20 million Americans to take to the streets to demonstrate against American industrial development that was, and still is, polluting the world we are stewards of. It was a movement that united huge portions of the American public around the universal issue of the protection of the environment. The political impetus of the first Earth Day led to businesses donating tens of thousands of dollars to Earth Day projects, the prevention of an anti-environmental advertising campaign by those same businesses and, while they refused the offer, an invitation from President Nixon for the organizers to sit down and talk about environmental policy with him.

In 1990, Earth Day went global, with 200 million people from 141 countries uniting to encourage change in environmental policy. As the founder of Earth Day, President Clinton awarded Senator Gaylord Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom for this monumental achievement which helped pave the way for the 1992 UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

Today, with more than a billion people recognizing it each year, Earth Day is seen as the largest secular observance in the world. One of the largest issues the organizers of Earth Day now contest is the lack of ambition of the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015 and they hope to persuade the governments of the world to take more drastic action against climate change going forward. Earth Day 2021 will begin on April 20th with a global youth climate summit with guest speakers including Greta Thunberg, Alexandria Villaseñor and Licypriya Kangujam. On April 21st, Education International will lead “Teach for the Planet: Global Education Summit” based on the crucial role that teachers play in combating climate change and the importance of climate education. On Earth Day proper (April 22nd), EARTHDAY.ORG will host a live digital event, focusing on how we can restore the earth going forward.

DNA’s contribution to Earth Day comes in the form of the connection between nature and psychedelics, with talks from Dr. David Luke and Dr. Sam Gandy. We hope on this Earth Day our speakers can reinvigorate a love of our natural environment in you and inform us all about the potential power that research has revealed in psychedelics.

Dr. Luke is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Greenwich as well as an Honorary Senior Lecturer at Imperial College London. He has released ten books and has spent his research running clinical drug trials with LSD, doing field experiments with DMT, and observing apparent weather control with Mexican Shamans.

Dr. Luke’s talk – ‘Transpersonal Ecodelia: Re-becoming a part of nature through psychedelics’ from 2-3 PM – will explore what can be learned from animism and shamanism in informing both psychology and ecology arising from the use of psychedelic plants.  Fusing research from parapsychology, transpersonal psychology, ecopsychology, ethnobotany and the investigation of psychedelics a perspective of transpersonal ecopsychology views human-flora/fauna/fungi interactions as meaningful, potentially transformative and sorely needed given the current rate of manmade species extinction on Earth.

After this talk, there will be an Earth Day discussion panel at 3:15-3:50 PM with Dr. Luke and Dr. Gandy so that anyone can ask questions on psychedelics and nature

Dr. Sam Gandy is a PhD ecologist, writer, and speaker. He has been scientific assistant to the director of the Beckley Foundation, a think tank and NGO dedicated to psychedelic research and global drug policy reform, as well as working as an ecopsychology coordinator with the Synthesis Institute designing nature-based programmes for people undergoing psilocybin therapy for depression. He is also a collaborator with the Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London, with a research interest in the capacity of psychedelics to influence our connection to nature.

Dr. Gandy’s talk – ‘From Egoism to Ecoism: Psychedelics and Nature Connectedness’ from 4-5 PM – will focus on the relationship that psychedelics and contact with nature can have upon our mental state. Sam will explore the concept of Nature-relatedness and how we identify with nature as individuals, along with the positive psychological links between being in nature and wellbeing.

We hope you learn a lot from our guest speakers, and from all of us here at DNA, happy Earth Day!