Solastalgia & Existential Distress
Solastalgia is a term used to describe a form of psychic or existential distress resulting from radical alteration to a person's environment, for example, through mining or climate change. Whilst solastalgia is not a diagnosable psychiatric disorder, Watts et al (2015) - writing in The Lancet - recognised it as a contributing concept to the impact of Climate Change on Human Health and Wellbeing. In this lecture we will consider some of the original research focusing on the effect of
persistent drought in rural New South Wales, together with the impact of large-scale open-cut coal mining on individuals in the Upper Hunter Valley in the same state. We will then turn our attention to the documentation of solastalgia in Appalachian communities affected by mountain-top removal coal mining practices, and the Tar Sands project in Canada. Finally, we will consider whether solastalgia might be found in U.K. communities as the landscape continues to change around us.