Friday, 1 July 2011


"Hi, my name is Jennie, and I have solastalgia."

No doubt in coming years, more of you will be experiencing it too, your voices echoing mine, in an ever louder chorus: "hello Jennie". Then it will be your turn. Hey, we'll have real honest to god meetings, where we drink bad coffee, eat sugar cookies, and hug a lot. We can call in SA - Solastalgics Anonymous. But there's no need to be anonymous about it, unless you find it shameful that you are experiencing solastagia, which, I suppose when you think about it, you should. Collectively, we are shitting in our own house - I don't know about you, but my cheeks would be pretty red if I got caught doing that.

But this is not so much a feeling of shame as a sort of depression. I've been personally dealing with this, sometimes fighting with it, for the past 4 years at least. More about that in another post or two. For now, the focus is on the word solastalgia, since it's the best way to describe this malaise.

This excellent article from Wired (from 2007!) writes on solastalgia: "It's a mashup of the roots solacium (comfort) and algia (pain), which together aptly conjure the word nostalgia. In essence, it's pining for a lost environment. "Solastalgia," as he wrote in a scientific paper describing his theory, "is a form of homesickness one gets when one is still at home.'"

You know how people say on parting, "I miss you already" to a loved one? This is it. This is the sense of loss I am already feeling at the slow demise of the very ecosystem that supports my life and yours. Some days it's worse than others. Some days I almost forget that we are in the middle of a crisis. Then I read the paper. It doesn't take much to snap out of it, there's news on the collapse of our ecosystems everywhere. I won't chalk them up here, I'll get back to 'em later.

I'll be back tomorrow with more explorations of the mental implications of this. For now, just chew on the word. Solastalgia. It's a good word. Not too clinical (don't want that), not too frivolous (don't want that either), reminiscent of a word we already know (good!). Let's put it to good use, shall we? We're going to need it.

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