“Tripping for the Planet: Psychedelics and Climate Activism”
by Amber X. Chen
Atmos, January 16, 2023
(Disclaimer: Many of the ideas I suggested in this pitch I proved otherwise in the final article, after research)
PITCH: dropping acid at the end of the world
Okay bear with me because this might be the worst idea you’ve ever heard, but it’s been on my mind for awhile so I thought why not run it by the editor I feel most comfortable being open with, haha:
So I dropped acid when I was 16 and I remember feeling so incredibly connected to the earth and the nature around me while high. And it got me thinking about how social movements peaked at a time of intense drug experimentation and the government’s subsequent “war on drugs” backlash to these movements. The thing about psychedelic drugs like acid and shrooms, etc, that I personally find so fascinating is their ability to open your mind to new realities. It’s like a form of induced radical imagination because your view of the world is quite literally altered; you question everything that is constructed and feel super connected to the present moment and the world around you. I can’t help but wonder if drugs (LSD/acid) may have been directly correlated with mass mobilization. Of course, LSD isn’t the only thing that led to that watershed moment, but it certainly can be argued that it was one aspect of it (or is at least a great representative of that cultural zeitgeist).
I think it would be super interesting and bold to explore the potential that psychedelics have within the context of social movements (as well as their history), especially regarding the climate movement which is in need of revolutionary action, the prerequisite to which is radical imagination that dismantles social constructs and imagines a future beyond what we’ve got going right now. The piece would also explore what the properties of psychedelics are that allow us to open our minds and feel so deeply connected to the world around us. I think this topic would be especially relevant right now as we’re starting to become more open-minded to psychedelics and micro-dosing is being explored as therapy, etc. This isn’t to say that the takeaway is that we should all drop acid, of course, but more so to prioritize autonomy (via decriminalization) as something that may have more than just therapeutic potential.
Thanks for hearing my pitch!