Drugs could save the planet, because drugs might make people environmentalists, studies say. If it’s true, getting people high might be a first step to getting them to take action to solve the world's global warming crisis.

Every hippie already knows this. But new studies are pouring in with data to back it up.

The "Journal of Psychopharmacology" just published a new study of 1,500 drug users, and found that trippers are not only more likely to identify with nature, they're more likely to take action, by saving water, recycling and driving less. Drinkers of the jungle hallucinogen ayahuasca take excellent care of the jungle, a new study showed.

Though not all drugs make you an environmentalist; only certain types, according to a paper published last month in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs. Alcohol doesn't make you go green — though it might make you throw up green stuff. Cocaine doesn't make you worry about the melting glaciers — it just makes you worry about the disappearing snow. Marijuana doesn't change minds, either, no matter how many tree-huggers smoke it.

The earthly love potions are a group of drugs called psychedelics, the free-love drugs your parents did in the '60s and then never told you about — LSD and mushrooms, mostly, but also a bunch of lesser-known drugs like Force2C-B, and Aladdin. Gobble these psychedelic molecules, and the world goes wobbly and weird for a few hours. And Mother Nature comes into view. 

"Psychedelics increase my perception of the contrast between man-made things and nature," says André Gossweiler, 21, a student at CU Boulder. Birds and flowers and rivers look more amazing and alive than ever, he says, while concrete and cars look deader than dead.

And people change their behavior because of this. 

"I grew up with a respect for nature but my psychedelic experience made me appreciate nature more," says Connor, 18, another CU student. He hikes and bikes more, and took up composting as a result of his drug use. 

A Boulderite named "Alex," says this:

"I used to think tree-huggers were idiots, and my life's dream was to own an Escalade. Then I studied abroad in Europe, and in Holland you can buy magic mushrooms in stores. I did. In the Dutch forest, I found a mossy tree. An hour I stood by that tree, eyeballing every inch of it, admiring. Then I stepped back, and the tree — this is how it felt — shook, like, happily, like how a dog gives a happy shiver after you pet it. I hiked on down the trail. I came back later and stood in front of the same tree. And again — this is how it felt — it shivered happily again in my direction. Like it remembered. Like, Hey, it's you again. Since then — imaginary or not — I can't help but see trees as siblings, brothers and sisters in the flowing river of nature.” Now, Alex’s dream car is a Tesla, he's planted trees and writes blog posts about climate change.

Everywhere you look, humans are battling nature. Nature just hit us with a left jab in Houston. Then, just to be nasty, she uppercutted Florida. It's a rumble, a struggle, a boxing match — in fact, its seems that the bout of humans vs. nature is a lot like Mayweather vs. McGregor — and we're the Irishman.

All scientists say climate change revs up hurricanes. This is scary.

What's even scarier is that, even in the face of these giant climate events which seem to prove that climate change is real, most climate change skeptics don't change their minds. They double down on skepticism. ‘So Far There Is No Particular Evidence That Says Harvey or Katrina or Sandy Were Exacerbated by Climate Change," says the magazine Reason. Before and after evacuating Florida, conservative TV host Rush Limbaugh entertained conspiracy theories that climatologists exaggerated the wind speeds of Hurricane Irma in order to advance the climate change agenda. 

Our brains aren't configured to absorb data. We trust what we see. Flat earth believers see the parking lot outside their window is level, so they call the rest of us Globe-ists. Climate change deniers have seen hurricanes before; so what's new?

What’s even worse is most people didn't notice the connection of hurricanes to climate change; social media sure didn't register it much. Even as records for hurricane size were being shattered right along with Floridians' windows, Twitter, Reddit and Snapchat barely shivered, still posting blindly about how Michelle dresses better than Melania and the hilarious glitch in Red Dead Redemption that makes it look like you can have sex with your horse.

Drugs get into your brain in a way that Facebook walls and news feeds cannot. Drugs overwhelm your senses. Drugs aren't interested in fancy arguments. They just are.

So maybe Al Gore should keep making movies — but also grow shrooms. Facebookers should stop posting about global temperature records and start posting tour dates for Dead and Company. And maybe the best conversation starter for your conservative friends is a copy of "Silent Spring or The Sixth Extinction" with a ten-strip of LSD tucked into the pages.

The government should hate this connection between drugs and nature. The same study that says that drugs are like environmentalist pills also says that drugs make you anti-authoritarian. Which won't make the authoritarian drug warriors happy. Which might motivate them to keep them illegal — planet be damned.

But it's counter-productive to keep them banned.

After all, all kinds of drugs save millions of lives. Penicillin. Vaccines. Insulin.

Trippy drugs might save lives by slowing global warming. It could happen.

[originally published September 12, 2017]