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A Celebration of the Pioneering Legacy of Sasha and Ann Shulgin

A Celebration of the Pioneering Legacy of Sasha and Ann Shulgin

Join us for a free, two-day event that we are hosting together with City Lights Booksellers & Publishers, and Transform Press for a free, two-day virtual symposium on June 26 & 27 celebrating the pioneering legacy of Sasha and Ann Shulgin for the launch of the first Shulgin book since 2011, The Nature of Drugs: History, Pharmacology, and Social Impact

Bold explorers of the frontiers of neurochemistry, Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin, master psychopharmacologist, along with his wife Ann, during their lifetimes, helped usher into being a major paradigm shift in the way we view the exploration of human consciousness. Through a series of sessions comprising lectures and panel discussions, we will explore the many aspects of the legacy of Sasha and Ann Shulgin and pay tribute to a man known to many as one of the great pioneers of the exploration of human consciousness.

Confirmed speakers include Ann Shulgin, Brigitte and Dr. Stanislav Grof, Michael Pollan, Dr. Mariavittoria Mangini, Dr. David E. Nichols, Dr. Rick Doblin, Dr. Erika Dyck, Dr. David Presti, Bob Jesse, Hamilton Morris, Dr. Janis Phelps, Dr. Bill Richards, Dr. Kile Ortigo, Mike Margolies, Leonard Pickard, and Dr. Paul Daley among many others.

All talks are free but require registration. Click the provided links to reserve a place. PLEASE NOTE: ALL SESSIONS ARE NOW FULLY BOOKED OUT, BUT YOU WILL HAVE A CHANCE TO WATCH THE TALKS ON YOUTUBE WITHIN TWO WEEKS OF THE EVENT.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Session 1: The Shulgin’s Pioneering Psychedelic Research (12:00 PM-2:00 PM PDT)

  • Host: Peter Maravelis, introduction to event and reflections on City Lights relationship to consciousness studies
  • Moderator: Bob Jesse – researcher, engineer, convener of the Council on Spiritual Practices
  • Dr. Stanislav Grof and Brigitte Grof – Stan Grof is the world’s leading researcher in psychedelic therapy, breathwork, and the exploration of non-ordinary states of consciousness, with wife and psychotherapist, Brigitte.
  • Dr. David E. Nichols – co-founder Heffter Institute, Chair in Pharmacology at the Purdue University College of Pharmacy
  • Dr. Paul Daley – Chief Science Officer and Chemist, Alexander Shulgin Research Institute
  • Wendy Tucker – Publisher, Transform Press, daughter of Ann Shulgin
  • Connie Littlefield –  filmmaker, producer “Better Living Through Chemistry,” documentary
  • Earth and Fire Erowid – cofounders of the non-profit Erowid Center, largest and most visited collection of information about psychoactive substances on the web
  • Ann Shulgin, Honored Guest

Watch Session 1

Session 2: Stories from the Edge: Trailblazers in Psychopharmacology (3:00 PM-5:00 PM PDT)

  • Moderator: Dr. Mariavittoria Mangini – family nurse-midwife for 25 years, author of numerous papers on historiography and social impacts of psychedelics
  • Allan Badiner – editor of Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics
  • Dr. Erika Dyck – Professor and a Canada Research Chair in the History of Health & Social Justice
  • Dr. George Greer – psychotherapist, cofounder Heffter Research Institute, pioneer in MDMA medical research
  • Dr. Dennis McKenna – ethnobotanist, author, founder of the McKenna Academy of Natural Philosophy
  • Keeper Trout – ethnobotanist, conservationist, curator of the Shulgin Archive Project

Watch Session 2

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Session 3: Currents in Psychedelic Research & Regulation (12:00 PM- 2:00 PM PDT)

  • Moderator: Hamilton Morris – chemist, filmmaker, and science journalist
  • Dr. Rick Doblin – co-founder, CEO, Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies
  • John Gilmore, Chairman, MAPS, cofounder Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Amanda Feilding – Founder and Executive Director of the Beckley Foundation
  • Cosmo Feilding, CEO, Beckley Psytech, Limited
  • Leonard Pickard –  chemist, author, former research associate in neurobiology at Harvard Medical School, and Deputy Director of the Drug Policy Analysis Program at UCLA
  • Dr. Paul Daley – CEO, Chemist, Alexander Shulgin Research Institute and Dr. Nicholas Cozzi – professor of pharmacology, research scientist

Watch Session 3

Session 4: Psychedelic Psychotherapy & Social Impact (3:00 PM-5:00 PM PDT)

  • Moderator: Dr. Janis Phelps – Dean of Faculty at CIIS for the graduate departments in the School of Humanities and Social Science; founder and director of the CIIS Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research
  • Dr. David Presti – professor of neurobiology at UC Berkeley
  • Dr. Kile Ortigo – clinical psychologist and founder of the Center for Existential Exploration, author of Beyond the Narrow Life: A Guide For Psychedelic Integration and Existential Exploration
  • Dr. Bill Richards –  psychologist in the Psychiatry Department of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, consultant/trainer at sites of psychedelic research internationally
  • Annie Oak – Managing Editor, Lucid News, journalist, long-time public health activist, developed risk reduction strategies for event organizers; cofounder of Woman’s Visionary Council

Watch Session 4

Session 5: Towards a Sane and Healthy Future (6:00 PM-8:00 PM PDT)

  • Moderator: Mike Margolies – psychedelic community catalyst and conversation creator; Founder of Psychedelic Seminars (psychsems.com)
  • Bob Jesse – researcher, engineer, convener of the Council on Spiritual Practices (CSP.org)
  • Michael Pollan – NYTimes bestselling author of How to Change Your Mind, cofounder UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics
  • Ann Shulgin author, collaborator with Sasha Shulgin, with her daughter
  • Wendy Tucker – Publisher, Transform Press
  • Dr. Julie Holland – psychiatrist specializing in psychopharmacology, author of numerous books, most recent Good Chemistry: The Science of Connection, From Soul to Psychedelics

Closing statements with Dr. Paul Daley, Ann Shulgin, Wendy Tucker, and Keeper Trout, sharing about the work of the Shulgin Foundation and forthcoming publications at Transform Press.

Watch Session 5

Celebrating Our First Copublished Book with Transform Press

The Nature of Drugs presents Sasha Shulgin’s popular San Francisco State University course on what drugs are, how they work, how they are processed by the body, and how they affect our society. The course also delves into social issues and reactions involving drugs, and discussions of governmental attempts at controlling them and features Sasha’s engaging lecture style peppered with illuminating anecdotes and amusing asides.

”Alexander Shulgin was many things, but first and foremost he was a teacher: he taught students, law enforcement, physicians, and eventually the world through the publication of his books PiHKAL and TiHKAL. This is Alexander Shulgin at his sharpest and most passionate. Emboldened by the emergency scheduling of MDMA and the passage of the Federal Analogue Act only three months previously, he offers a series of discursive lectures on medicine, pharmacology, human physiology, philosophy of science, astrology, alchemy, law, and linguistics. This text is a precious opportunity to attend a class taught by one of the great scientific thinkers of the 20th century and an indispensable primer for understanding the immensely complicated subject we call ‘drugs.’” ―Hamilton Morris

Get your copy!

Sacred Plants in the Americas II

Sacred Plants in the Americas II

Sacred Plants in the Americas II: A Virtual Psychedelic Summit on the Globalization of Plant Medicines and Indigenous Reciprocity

We are very excited to share an amazing upcoming conference from our friends at the Chacruna Institute! Next April 24-25, 2021, they are hosting Sacred Plants in the Americas II, a global virtual summit exploring the globalization of plant medicines and indigenous reciprocity.

This revolutionary conference will bring together indigenous leaders from throughout North, Central, and South America as well as researchers, practitioners, community builders, and other experts from around the world. The summit will discuss the potential benefits and harms of the globalization of psychedelic plant medicines and explore how we can offer reciprocity to honor the indigenous cultures and traditions that these medicines come from.

Speakers include David Bronner, Belinda Eriacho, Anya Ermakova, Jorge Ferrer, Kathleen Harrison, Stacey Schaeffer, Glenn Shepard, Bia Labate, Clancy Canvar, and many more! 

Indigenous voices have often been marginalized in the contemporary psychedelic conversation, and this event seeks to spotlight these voices and the invaluable wisdom they carry. It is vital that members of the psychedelic community help support indigenous groups and the traditional spiritual and ecological knowledge they preserve and practice. 

They are offering a special 10% discount code for our community! Use the code “discount_synergetic” to register for tickets in the link below. 

Get your ticket

The Plant Spirit Summit

The Plant Spirit Summit

A new paradigm of healing is emerging at the intersection of psychedelic medicine and ancestral shamanic healing... Psychedelic medicine has been pushed to the forefront as the new frontier in psychotherapy, a new solution to the global mental health crisis.

Psychotherapists might say that its cause is widespread trauma, the outcome of an increasingly unequal capitalistic culture, exacerbated by financial uncertainty, and social isolation caused by the pandemic.

Shamans might say that the root lies in our separation from Nature and Spirit, and that the events of 2020 signalled a shamanic initiation of planetary proportions - a warning sign of a civilization recklessly out of balance and an urgent call for humanity to wake up. 

What if both are right?

Learn more at the Plant Spirit Summit on Feb 22-26, 2021, a free-for-all 5-day online event hosted by Lorna Liana of EntheoNation.

This transformational Summit seeks to explore the intersection of psychedelics & shamanism by facilitating bold, inquisitive conversations about the expansion of plant medicine shamanism and the future of psychedelic medicine. During the Summit, 40+ indigenous and Western speakers will share their priceless perspectives and concrete advice on how to navigate the Psychedelic Renaissance and Global Shamanic Revival, safely, responsibly, and with integrity.

Register for FREE Now to Explore the New Paradigm of Healing at the Intersection of Psychedelics & Shamanism

During this visionary 5-day Summit, you’ll hear from:

  • Ninawa Pai da Mata, spiritual leader of the Huni Kuin community of Novo Futuro, on the indigenous cultural renaissance catalyzed by the globalization of ayahuasca and their tribe’s decision to collaborate with outsiders. Filmed in the Kaxinawá indigenous territory of Humaitá in Acre, Brazil, during the Eskawatã Kayawai Festival, this mini-documentary shares their culture, shamanic medicine traditions, challenges, and hopes for the future. 
  • Wade Davis, celebrated author, anthropologist, ethnobotanist, and filmmaker, who talks about the impact of the Psychedelic Renaissance on contemporary culture, as well as about the Drug War’s destruction of Colombia and what he considers to be the ultimate sacred medicine of South America (not ayahuasca)
  • Nat Kelley, activist & actress (Fantastic Fungi Foundation, The Fast & the Furious, Vampire Diaries) and Alan Scheurman (Santiparro), musician / Shipibo-trained facilitator,  discuss the impact of COVID on the indigenous communities in the Amazon, and what it takes to create a global campaign of active reciprocity.
  • Bruce Parry, filmmaker and explorer, on the delicate nature of living with remote peoples, egalitarian tribal cultures, and his visionary experiences on iboga, ayahuasca, Bufo and ebene (yopo)
  • Françoise Bourzat, consciousness guide and author, who shares what happens when you integrate indigenous sacred mushroom ceremonies and Western psychology
  • Cecilio Soria Gonzales, Shipibo indigenous rights activist, on how the Comando Matico initiative is distributing plant medicine through indigenous communities to treat and prevent COVID
  • Shelby Hartman, co-Founder of DoubleBlind Magazine, leading publisher of psychedelic journalism, on the medicalization of psychedelics, and whether these emergent drugs are all they are hyped up to be
  • Jeremy Narby, legendary anthropologist and author of the Cosmic Serpent, with advice on how Western ceremony facilitators from the Global North can stop engaging in spiritual extraction of indigenous cultural wisdom, and give back in a meaningful way

Meet Your Host, Lorna Liana

Deep in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon, Lorna Liana discovered her purpose and her divine calling while drinking visionary plant medicines with indigenous shamans. She was given a mission: “To leverage emerging technologies to preserve indigenous traditions, so that ancient wisdom can benefit the modern world, and technology can empower indigenous people.”

In pursuit of this mission, Lorna became an online business coach and new media strategist to sustainable brands, social ventures and visionary entrepreneurs, helping them attract their tribe and ignite a movement around their mission-driven businesses. Through podcasting, video blogging, and social media, she shares the stories of both indigenous people and the world’s foremost experts in psychedelic science, modern shamanism, and consciousness research to inspire each and every one of us to explore the depths of our minds, spirits, planet…and evolve.

Over the past years, Lorna has built EntheoNation as a digital nomad, living in Thailand, Bali, Mexico, Brazil, Costa Rica, Hawaii, and Spain.

About EntheoNation

EntheoNation is a leading psychedelic media publisher that publishes content about:

Ayahuasca - the visionary brew ceremonially drunk in indigenous communities in the Amazon since ancient times, and which has over the last decade begun its expansion throughout the Global North, prompting the emergence of neoshamanic circles and psychedelic integration specialists. Ayahuasca ceremonies and retreats, which are now available globally, have become increasingly popular among psychonauts from all walks of life, and just about anyone in need of healing deep-seated trauma, attaining profound spiritual growth and personal transformation, and finding direction in life.

Magic Mushrooms - the fantastically psychedelic fungi growing throughout the world, and consumed by early humans since at least 10,000 BCE; as one of the most available naturally occurring psychoactive fruits, they have been an integral part of the psychedelic movement for decades. Now, with mounting evidence of psilocybin’s effectiveness against mental disorders such as depression and anxiety, magic mushrooms are spearheading the wave of psychedelic medicalization, decriminalization, and legalization.

Sacred Reciprocity -  the expansion of ancestral plant medicines beyond their native geographic regions has swelled the number of Western plant medicine ceremony participants and facilitators… to the point where more non-indigenous people consume and facilitate ayahuasca than indigenous. What are the ramifications of this dynamic? How might we decolonize plant medicines and co-create a psychedelic community that is diverse and inclusive? What actions can we take to show solidarity for the indigenous movement? Explore these topics in the free Sacred Reciprocity School.

Join the conversation at the FREE Plant Spirit Summit on Feb 22-26, 2021, and discover how you can participate - safely, responsibly, and with integrity.

Psychedelic Society UK Presents A Talk with Lama Mike Crowley

Psychedelic Society UK Presents A Talk with Lama Mike Crowley

The Psychedelic Society UK Presents An Evening with Lama Mike Crowley, Author of Secret Drugs of Buddhism 

The Psychedelic Society UK will be hosting a talk together with Synergetic Press author of Secret Drugs of Buddhism, ordained lama Mike Crowley, on 29th September from 1-3 PM CDT or 7-9 PM UK time.

After over 50 years of study, Mike has amassed incontrovertible evidence that psychedelic plants and fungi were part of medieval Buddhism. This is especially so in the tantric school of Buddhism known as Vajrayana in which a psychedelic sacrament called the “elixir of immortality” (Sanskrit: amṛita) played a central role. This school was based upon scriptures called tantras which concealed their secrets behind multiple levels of meaning. Mike will reveal the simple puns and Sanskrit wordplay which indicate the nature of this “elixir”.

More about Mike Crowley

Mike Crowley is originally from Wales but currently lives in a remote cabin in a vast forest in northern California. His book, Secret Drugs of Buddhism: Psychedelic Sacraments and the Origins of the Vajrayana was published recently and he sits on the advisory board of the Psychedelic Sangha of the US. He has been known to teach Buddhism. He is familiar with Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Mandarin Chinese. Mike has lectured at the Museum of Asia and the Pacific, Warsaw, the Jagellonian University, Cracow, The California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His work has been published in Fortean Times, Time and Mind: The Journal of Archaeology, Consciousness, and Culture, Psychedelic American, and Psychedelic Press UK.

Get your ticket

Observing Earth Day 2020 During a Global Pandemic

Observing Earth Day 2020 During a Global Pandemic

The Oil Spill that Inspired Earth Day

On January 28, 1969, crude oil and gas erupted from a platform off the coast of Santa Barbara, spilling out into the Pacific waters. It blackened over 800 square miles of ocean, killing thousands of seabirds, marine mammals, and fish. At the time, it was the largest oil spill in history. Today, it is topped by only two other oil spills and remains the worst California’s waters have seen. 

1969 Santa Barbara Oil Spill, Earth Day 2020 | Synergetic Press

The devastating event’s one silver lining was that it served as a catalyst for a widespread and enduring campaign promoting environmental awareness. After the spill, Gaylord Nelson, an environmentally-conscious Wisconsin senator, realized that public awareness around industrial technology’s impact on the planet needed a serious boost. Harnessing the anti-war protest energy of the 60s, he, along with a Republican congressman, a young Harvard graduate, and a team of 85 people, organized a national “teach-in” to take place on April 22, 1970. 

It was the first official Earth Day. Twenty million people took to the streets to protest humanity’s destructive behavior towards the environment. In the 50 years since its inception, Earth Day has served as a celebration of our planet and raises public awareness around pollution with events and activist initiatives coordinated worldwide. 

Our Collective Carbon Footprint

For Earth Day 2020, activists planned to celebrate the theme of “Climate Action” by organizing The Great Global Cleanup, a day dedicated to removing trash from green space and urban centers. But since the outbreak of COVID-19, and the ensuing government mandates to socially distance and stay indoors, Earth Day convergences are going digital (much like everything else). 

The pandemic is a tragedy. However, like the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, there is a silver lining to this devastating global crisis. While modern society stumbles over itself after coming to a screeching halt, the earth has a chance to breathe again. With non-essential establishments closing their doors, major airports “eerily silent,” and most people self-confining at home, our collective carbon footprint has significantly decreased. 

Clear waters in Venice canals. Photo by Marco Capovilla. Earth Day 2020 | Synergetic Press

The Guardian reports that “global carbon emission could fall by 2.5bn tonnes this year, a reduction of 5%, as the coronavirus pandemic triggers the biggest drop in demand for fossil fuels on record.” Satellites detect a drop in nitrogen-oxide emissions in China, and lower air pollution in Italy. And for the first time in recent history, the normally smog-battered skies of Los Angeles are clear and bright. An interactive map created by Earther provides a staggering visual of how much air pollution has dropped across the globe from December 2019 to March 2020. One YouTuber, PLANET NOW, posted a video showing before-and-after shots of Venice canals – once murky and green, now a limpid blue – suggesting we can maintain these conditions by reducing tourism and working from home more.

The Pandemic Slows Down Industrial Society

Things aren’t just cleaner – they’re quieter too. For those living in industrial society, slowed-down living may revitalize their relationship to the planet. Rebecca Franks, an American living in Wuhan, posted to Facebook about life in quarantine, saying: “Right now I hear birds outside my window. I used to think there weren’t really birds in Wuhan because you rarely saw them and never heard them. I now know they were just muted and crowded out by the traffic and people.” 

Michelle Fournet, a marine ecologist studying acoustic environments, tells The Atlantic that since the suspension of the cruise ship industry, “we’re experiencing an unprecedented pause in ocean noise that probably hasn’t been experienced in decades.” According to research, maritime activity (including military sonar, seismic surveys, oil drilling, dredging and ship engines) causes stress and physical damage to sea animals, altering their behavior and communication systems. 

Meanwhile, pictures and videos of wild animals traversing empty towns and cities are circulating widely on social media. Mountain goats blithely stroll the streets of Wales. A deer in Japan curiously peeks inside a restaurant window. A family of geese waltz down the center of Las Vegas Boulevard. Could the popularity of these kinds of posts speak to an underlying, collective yearning to witness mother nature  “reboot” herself, as two Twitter users put it? 

***

The pandemic has stirred the whole world into unified action in the way that other very real threats to humanity have not – namely, climate change. Decades of activist efforts to influence human activity have not been able to match COVID-19’s galvanizing effect. Now that humanity’s impact on the planet is more tangible than ever, it may be the perfect time to emphasize environmental awareness. While the usual celebration is not in order for this year’s Earth Day, we can observe its theme of “Climate Action” by reflecting on how, and why, our planet feels a little brighter, and what we might do to sustain that going forward. 

Celebrating Earth Day 2020 Online 

Join the Earth Day Network this April 22nd for Earth Day Live (starting at 9:00 AM ET-8:00 PM ET). Earth Day Live will flood the digital landscape with global conversations, calls to action, performances, and video teach-ins with the goal of mobilizing a stop to the climate emergency.

At 2:00 PM ET Dr. Silvia Earle, marine biologist, explorer, and writer of the foreword to Life Under Glass:  will be speaking, followed by a virtual Q&A featuring biospherians Mark Nelson, Linda Leigh, and Spaceship Earth director Matt Wolfe. 

Tune into Earth Day Live

Earth Day 2020 preview of the new documentary film, Spaceship Earth

The film Spaceship Earth chronicles the true, stranger-than-fiction adventure of eight visionaries who in 1991 spent two years quarantined inside of a self-engineered replica of Earth’s ecosystem called BIOSPHERE 2. As the current pandemic forces us to confront the fact that the narratives that inform our modern-day existence do not serve us, this tale of dreamers reimagining a new world may inspire our own vision of the future.
Spaceship Earth will be released on May 8. Watch the trailer above.
‘Spaceship Earth’ and Planetary Stewardship | Sundance 2020

‘Spaceship Earth’ and Planetary Stewardship | Sundance 2020

“Spaceship Earth” Documentary on Biosphere 2 Premieres at Sundance Film Festival

Last weekend, some of our authors, John Allen and Mark Nelson, along with publisher, Deborah Snyder, attended the premiere of this long awaited film at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Audiences gave standing ovations. The film is based in part on the memoir by John Allen, Me & the Biospheres, and includes extensive interviews with authors Mark Nelson and Sally Silverstone, both authors of our next book, Life Under Glass, a second edition of the account they wrote while living inside.

“Spaceship Earth” unravels the compelling tale behind Biosphere 2 — the largest laboratory for global ecology ever built, comprised of seven biomes within a three and a half-acre closed ecological unit. Each biome was a carefully created replica of one of the various ecosystems on Earth. The film spans a fifty-year history of the small group of individuals who embarked on this extraordinary venture. Directed by Matt Wolf, Produced by Stacy Reiss (The Eagle Huntress).

Spaceship Earth Crew at Sundance 2020

The Directors and producers with the Biosphere 2 team at the Sundance Film Festival 2020.

Costing $200 million to build, Biosphere 2 was complete with a tropical rainforest, a grassland, a coastal desert, and even a coral containing ocean. From 1991 to 1993 eight researchers across different scientific practices, called ‘Biospherians’, began a two-year-long experiment in which they lived fully enclosed within the structure with the aim of studying how the environments would evolve, and if they could sustain human life. But just how did this wild experiment come to be? 

Chronicling back to San Francisco in the early 1960s, “Spaceship Earth” traces the journey of artist-engineer John Allen and his group of like-minded, free-thinking friends who set about making the earth a more sustainable place through theater, art, and ecologically driven projects. Together, the group formed the avant-garde theater troupe, the Theater of All Possibilities, mixing together noetics, science, and ecology with experimental theater. 

The group went on to establish several other projects including Synergia Ranch, an intentional community in New Mexico focused on ecology, architecture, and art. With Synergia Ranch as their headquarters, the group started to scale into even more ambitious projects, founding the non-profit organization the Institute of Ecotechnics (IE). IE’s main goal has been the development and application of innovative approaches to harmonizing technology and the global biosphere.

The team embarked upon constructing their own hand-built sailing vessel from scratch, starting a sustainable forestry project in Puerto Rico, and even an art gallery in London. Their far-sighted scope ultimately led to their most inspirational project — Biosphere 2.

“Synergia’s members hungered for knowledge and were always looking to one-up themselves, under the philosophy that life could be playful and meaningful if you were open to all possibilities. So in the late 1980s, Allen and his band of visionaries embarked on their most ambitious project ever: the construction of a biosphere that would sustain the lives of eight crew members for two years without any outside interference.” — Matt Patches, “Spaceship Earth uncovers the goodness hidden in the debacle of Biosphere 2

“In the end, Spaceship Earth is an epic story told over the course of 50 years about epic people. That we could imagine everyday humans being as epic as the Synergists and Biospherians is the invitation of the film. What would it take for a small group of people to set their vision and imagination on a wild goal and get up every day to accomplish it? Does that have to be such a wild proposition? Have we become too cynical? Has our belief in possibility diminished? If you need a reminder about the awesome creative potential of humanity, see this film.” — Hariette Yahr , “A reminder about the power of Imagination”, Modern Times, the European Documentary Magazine

Biosphere 2 was built as an educational apparatus to study planetary workings by replicating key components of earth’s (Biosphere 1’s) fantastic diversity, and observing how it evolved in a closed system. Beyond this, the Biospherians took the threat of ecological collapse seriously, wanting to develop a harmonic balance between ecology and technology, potentially suitable to colonize space, and gaining insight into how humans can better our impacts on earth’s biosphere.

A Testament to the Power of Small Groups  

Ultimately, the story behind Biosphere 2, and the many initiatives driven forward by the Institute of Ecotechnics serve as a testament to the power of small groups. Wild dreams of envisioning a better world do not have to be cast-off as an idealistic pastime, but rather they can become an even more productive reality when put into an actionable plan. 

A Beacon of Planetary Stewardship 

Today Biosphere 2 continues to serve as a beacon of hope with a message grounded in harmonizing human actions with nature. One of the most crucial insights that we can draw from the Biosphere 2 project is that we already live in a closed ecological system, Biosphere 1, the Earth!  

We can re-empower ourselves with the knowledge and know that what we do as individuals makes a difference to the outcome at large. In the words of Buckminster Fuller:

“I’ve often heard people say: ‘I wonder what it would feel like to be onboard a spaceship,’ and the answer is very simple. What does it feel like? That’s all we have ever experienced. We are all astronauts on a little spaceship called Earth.” 


What Reviewers Said About Spaceship Earth 

“The film’s larger frame is something more spiritual, an innate quest for knowledge and adventure whose principal crime was naiveté. Operating outside the usual government and academic realms for such projects, the Biosphere 2 personnel weren’t prepared for the extent to which they’d be scrutinized and dismissed for that independence. Drawing on a wealth of archival materials as well as interviews with all surviving participants, “Spaceship” is an involving, oddly poignant tale that should have broad appeal to those on the lookout for distinctive documentary features.” — Dennis Harvey, “‘Spaceship Earth’: Film Review for Variety


Books on Biosphere 2

Me and the Biospheres: A Memoir by the Inventor of Biosphere 2 

Me and the Biospheres: A Memoir by the Inventor of Biosphere 2In today’s world, where the problems of climate change, pollution and ecological destruction become ever more pressing, we often tend to forget about the things which have already and are still being done for the environment, in attempts to align man with the natural world.

The 2009 Winner of the Benjamin Franklin Award for Best Biography/Memoir, Me and the Biospheres is the definitive autobiography of John P. Allen, inventor of the largest laboratory for global ecology ever built and one of the most luminous minds of our time. Contained within a magnificently designed air-tight glass and steel frame structure, Biosphere 2 covered three acres of Arizona desert and included models of seven biomes: an ocean with coral reef, a marsh, a rainforest, a savannah, a desert, farming areas and a micro-city. Eight people lived inside this structure for two years (1991-1993) and set world records in human life support, monitoring their impact on the environment, while providing crucial data for future manned missions into outer space. Anyone concerned with the current world trajectory will identify with Allen’s uplifting account of the most ambitious environmental experiment ever undertaken. Humorous and Whitmanesque, Me and the Biospheres is a tribute to the ingenuity and dauntlessness of the human mind and a passionate call to reawaken to the beauty of our peerless home, Biosphere 1, the Earth.
 

APRIL 2020

Life Under Glass: Crucial Lessons in Planetary Stewardship Learned from Two Years in Biosphere 2

What has it meant to the first crew who studied and cared for Biosphere 2? What was it really like to be sealed inside a giant laboratory for twenty-four months?

In Life Under Glass, crew members, Abigail Alling and Mark Nelson with co-captain Sally Silverstone present the full account of those two remarkable years. From the struggles of growing their own food, to learning how to help sustain their life-giving atmosphere, the general reader is offered a rare glimpse into how a group of dedicated researchers managed to surprise the world and fulfill their dream. In this updated edition, a new chapter reflects on the legacy of Biosphere 2 and the state of related scientific progress. Other crews will come and go, but no one else will face the risks, the uncertainties, and the challenges that this new breed of explorers did on Biosphere 2’s maiden voyage. Here is the fascinating story of how it all unfolded—the dramatic tales of learning to live in a separate world under glass.

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