‘Solastalgia’ and the psychological effects of natural disasters

People get solace from where they live, and when natural disasters destroy those places, they feel anxiety and despair, or “solastalgia.” Image by skeeze from Pixabay

“Solastalgia” is the anxiety and despair many people are currently feeling about the changing climate and the damage it’s causing. The Australian philosopher who coined the term described it as “a form of homesickness one gets when one is still at ‘home.’” That means while people may not have moved, they’re distressed about the changes happening to where they live — and helpless to stop those changes.

Susan Clayton, professor of psychology at the College of Wooster in Ohio, explains that “solastalgia” comes from the idea that places are sources of solace, and people are hurt when those places are destroyed.



  • Susan Clayton - professor of psychology at The College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio