The term is new and refers generally to a form of depression or sense of loss related to environmental changes, including climate change, extreme weather events and other disruptions to one’s surroundings or home. The word is a combination of “solace” (that which gives comfort) and “algos” (Greek for pain). It is similar to the term “nostalgia” which refers to a longing or sense of loss of a place, or home, which is gone, as in homesick. Solastalgia refers to a sense of solace in a favorite place which is being despoiled and where we still live. It is “the homesickness we feel in (rather than for) our own home.”
The threats to our cherished places include such phenomena as wildfires, flooding, drought, land clearing, overfishing and other environmental assaults. Others have referred to such experiences as environmental or ecological grief.
Some further ideas to explore on Solastalgia
How does solastalgia compare to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?
Does climate change and its negative impact on mental health tend to disproportionately affect people in marginalized or underserved communities? If so, are people living in these communities at greater risk of developing solastalgia?
Are some forms of psychotherapy better suited for solastalgia than for other forms of emotional distress?
Sarah Vanbuskirk, “What Is Solastalgia? VerywellMind (27 Jan 2021). bit.ly/3A8iAyB
Solastalgia, Difficult Truths: Climate Psychology Alliance. bit.ly/39RQZXX
Elham Shabahat, “Solastalgia: Naming the Grief of Climate Change,” KCET (16 May 2022). bit.ly/3bwgoa1
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