Stephen Reid and Gail Bradbrook: Psychedelics, Extinction and Social Change

A conversation between Dr. Gail Bradbrook, co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, and Stephen Reid, founder and co-director of The Psychedelic Society

The Earth is in the grip of a sixth mass extinction event, with 60% of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles wiped out since 1970. The biggest cause of wildlife loss is the destruction of natural habitats by humanity; three-quarters of all land on Earth is now significantly affected by human activities. Other important factors include overhunting, toxic pollution, the introduction of invasive species and climate change. Humanity’s dependence on the web of life is such that the extinction crisis threatens an end to human civilisation as we know it.

Some have suggested that the root of the problem lies in the ‘story of separation’: the widespread idea that humans are separate from or beyond nature, rather than part of it.

Psychedelics (from the Greek psyche: mind, delos: make visible, reveal) are substances that induce a heightened state of consciousness characterised by a hyperconnected brain state. The best known psychedelics are psilocybin (found in magic mushrooms), DMT (found in ayahuasca), mescaline (found in peyote and San Pedro cacti), LSD and 2C-B.

The substances are remarkable for their ability to reliably bring about so-called mystical/spiritual-type experiences, the hallmark of which is a sense of the unity and interconnectedness of all things. Research has found that such unitive experiences can produce significant and sustained increases in Nature Relatedness, a measure associated with greater wellbeing and ecologically sustainable behaviour.

At this event, Gail and Stephen will present on their personal journeys involving psychedelics and social change before entering into a dialogue on questions including:

⧗ What’s the root cause of our current ecological crisis?

⧗ Can psychedelics help us to come into right relationship with nature?

⧗ What’s the role of psychedelics in social change movements?