In a 2004 essay, he coined a term to describe it: “solastalgia,” a combination of the Latin word solacium (comfort) and the Greek root –algia (pain), which he defined as “the pain experienced when there is recognition that the place where one resides and that one loves is under immediate assault . . . a form of homesickness one gets when one is still at ‘home...’
In September, the British trip-hop duo Zero 7 released an instrumental track titled “Solastalgia,” and in 2008 Jukeen, a Slovenian recording artist, used the word as an album title. “Solastalgia” has been used to describe the experiences of Canadian Inuit communities coping with the effects of rising temperatures; Ghanaian subsistence farmers faced with changes in rainfall patterns; and refugees returning to New Orleans after Katrina. 1
Yes, our mind and the health are connected to this earth. So to feel such pain is a normal reaction if we are sensitive to what is happening regarding to our present degradation. From an eco-psychological perspective being numb, overwhelmed or powerless reflects humanity’s current divorced relationship as we diminish our natural eco-systems.
Such mental suffering forces many to explore our collective unconscious so to see how we can best adapt to this tremendous eco-adversity. One course of action is to lessen our consumption and ecological footprint to battle becoming so despondent. Another form of restorative therapy is seeking refuge by going into the woods or other natural surrounding.
Thomas Doherty, a leading ecosychologist as developed a model that which equates mental health with the impulse to “promote connection with nature.” This profound ecological minds-state is one model developed for the American Psychological Association Climate-change Task Force.
As we develop greater consciousness and explore our shadows an organic unification happens. However, difficult or painful such introspection is required to better ourselves and this world. When we separate ourselves from our world, we disconnect from our eco-soul or our earth spirit. Our whole is greater than the sum of many broken parts. Anyway we improve our sense of interconnectedness healing happens. I challenge you to question how or if you are connected to this world? A profound process will follow if you have to courage to venture forth. Otherwise you may become lost in the unconscious violence destroying our larger body's fight to survive.
1 Daniel Smith, “Is There an Ecological Unconscious?” New York Times, 1/27/10 http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/31/magazine/31ecopsych-t.html