Definition: Derived from nostalgia, Solastalgia is a form of homesickness one gets when one is still at home, but the environment has been altered and feels unfamiliar. The term is specifically referencing change caused by chronic change agents like climate change or mining. Used primarily to describe the negative psychological effect of chronic environmental destruction on an individuals homeland, or the place they call home. The condition is often “exacerbated by a sense of powerlessness or lack of control over the unfolding change process.*”

Usage: Samuel noticed no one seemed to say “the fog is rolling in” any longer. Most people around him delighted in the sunny weather that was increasingly common as the drought progressed, but he experienced a mild form of solastalgia, longing for the often termed “marine layer.”  The speed of the city itself seemed different now— faster without the fog. He couldn’t compare this feeling to the experience of those whose homes were forever affected by mining or deforestation, yet still a sort of melancholia and longing hung over him, and places that he knew so well seemed foreign and unfamiliar.

Origin: Glen Albrecht, 2003, Australia. Derived from the Latin solacium (comfort) and Ancient Greek algia (pain)

* Albrecht, Sartore, Connor, Higginbotham, Freeman, Kelly, Stain, Tonna, Pollard (2007). Solastalgia: the distress caused by environmental change. Australas Psychiatry. PubMed Commons

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