solastalgia
n. Distress or melancholy caused by a significant change to one's local environment.

Example Citations:
Whereas nostalgia is homesickness for a place, solastalgia is a yearning for the way a loved place used to be.
—Des Houghton, "Pain has a brand new label," The Courier Mail, February 27, 2010

Ecological degradation is not only affecting our external landscape; it's also influencing our psychic one. Neologisms paint the picture: solastalgia is the depression caused when your local surroundings are damaged significantly; eco anxiety is a generalized worry about the environment.
—Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson, "Eco anxiety," The New York Times, April 20, 2008

Earliest Citation:
The people I was concerned about were still 'at home', but felt a similar melancholia as that caused by nostalgia connected to the breakdown of the normal relationship between their psychic identity and their home. What these people lacked was solace or comfort derived from their present relationship to 'home'. In addition, they felt a profound sense of isolation about their inability to have a meaningful say and impact on the state of affairs that caused their distress. 'Solastalgia' was created to describe the specific form of melancholia connected to lack of solace and intense desolation.
—Glenn Albrecht, "'Solastalgia': A New Concept in Health and Identity," PAN: Philosophy Activism Nature, August 30, 2004

Notes:
Glenn Albrecht, the Australian philosopher who coined solastalgia, describes it as a blend of the Latin word solacium (comfort) and the Greek suffix -algia (pain). (As an aside, yes, we're allowed to combine Latin and Greek terms these days; that ship has sailed, my friend.) The recent appeal of the word "solastalgia" is captured perfectly in this New York Times article:

In a 2004 essay, [Albrecht] coined a term to describe it: 'solastalgia,' ... 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 the past five years, the word 'solastalgia' has appeared in media outlets as disparate as Wired, The Daily News in Sri Lanka and Andrew Sullivan's popular political blog, The Daily Dish. 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.
—Daniel B. Smith, "Is There an Ecological Unconscious?," The New York Times, January 31, 2010

Related Words:

Categories: