If you feel sad or depressed when you think about the climate crisis, you may be suffering from solastalgia

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Carlos Laforet Coll
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If you feel sad or depressed while watching the planet change abruptly, you may be suffering from solastalgia, a psychological distress closely linked to climate change.

If you feel sad or depressed while watching the planet change abruptly, you may be suffering from solastalgia, a psychological distress closely linked to climate change.





What is solastalgia?

“A kind of nostalgia that you feel when the environment around you changes for the worse”, explains the Australian philosopher Glenn Albrecht, who coined it a few years ago, at the University of NewCaslte, in Australia.

Literally the term comes from the combination of the Latin word solacium (comfort) and the Greek root algia (pain) and is, as we said, a neologism coined in 2003 by the Australian philosopher Glenn Albrecht and indicates precisely, a malaise which occurs when you see a deterioration of the place where you live. Worsening due to climate change, urbanization, overbuilding, land consumption and so on.

Substitution is therefore linked to the Anthropocene e the impact of man on the environment. Floods, torrential rains, heat waves directly affect our mood by intensifying stress and anxiety which can eventually degenerate into anger and depression.

“It's a kind of homesickness or melancholy you feel when you're home and your family environment is changing around you in ways you find deeply negative,” says Albrecht.

A state of mind that, for example, natives know well.

"Australian aborigines, Navajos and any indigenous population have experienced this sense of pain and disorientation after being displaced from their land," says Albrecht.

A pain that continues to be felt every time ranchers and farmers try to usurp their ancestral lands to make room for livestock and plantations.

What are the effects of sun pain?

They can be long and short term, manifesting acutely or chronically. We thus have feelings of increased aggression, a sense of weakness, pain, alienation and more depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances up to suicidal impulses. With all the consequences of the case, that is, relations with others and the community. Among the most vulnerable people are children and the elderly, but also young people who lately are starting to express anxiety and concern for the future of the Planet.



But solastalgia is not a peculiarity of Western countries because everyone can experience a feeling that threatens the sense of belonging to a place and that of identity, and which can lead to depression. But despite everything we must not throw in the towel. “I am an optimistic person, I do a lot to reverse the thrust”, Albrecht comments.

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Read also:

Eco-anxiety: how the climate emergency negatively affects our mental health

Climate change: anxiety, stress and depression among the effects

 

 

 

 

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