Solastalgia – When Climate Change Causes Anxiety and Frustration

If you are feeling sad or depressed while you watch the planet change, you may be suffering from solastalgia. This is a psychological discomfort closely related to climate change.

What Is Solastalgia?

The first person to use the expression “solastalgia” was the Australian philosopher Glenn Albrecht. He used this term a few years ago in a research for the University of Newcastle, Australia. According to his definition, it is a kind of nostalgia that you feel when the environment around you changes for the worse.

Literally the term comes from the combination of the Latin word solacium (comfort) and the Greek root algia (pain). As we were saying, it is a neologism coined in 2003 by the Australian philosopher Glenn Albrecht and it indicates a malaise that you feel when you see a worsening of the place where you live. Such worsening is due precisely to climate change, urbanization, cementification, soil consumption and so on.

So there is a connection between solastalgia and the impact of man on the environment. Floods, heavy rains and heat waves directly affect our moods. As a result, they cause stress and anxiety that can eventually degenerate into anger and depression. If you think about it, you may have experienced something similar. In fact, it’s the kind of homesickness or melancholy you feel when you’re at home and your family environment is changing around you in ways you feel deeply negative.

Who Suffers from This Condition?

This condition is extremely familiar to many people. Let’s think about native and indigenous tribes, who are very close to nature and territory. When something negative affects their habitat, they end up feeling bad as well. For example, they have experienced this sense of pain and disorientation after being displaced from their land. These people continue to feel this pain every time breeders and farmers try to usurp ancestral lands to make room for livestock and plantations.

This disorder can have long and short-term effects, both acute and chronic. We thus have feelings of increased aggression, a sense of weakness, pain and alienation. They all can lead to depression, anxiety, sleep disorders and even suicidal impulses. All this obviously has consequences, as it affects relationships with others and the community. Among the most vulnerable people are certainly children and the elderly. However, young people are also at risk – especially since they have begun to express anxiety and concern about the future of the Planet.

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