n. Distress or melancholy caused by a significant change to one's local environment.
Whereas nostalgia is homesickness for a place, solastalgia is a yearning for the way a loved place used to be.
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.
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.
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.