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In 2003, the Australian philosopher Glenn Albrecht decided the English language needed a new word. In the face of climate change and human-caused environmental destruction, he believed people were confronting an unfamiliar form of distress. The word—solastalgia— combines the Latin word solacium (comfort or solace) with the Greek root -algia (pain), and describes the emotional, psychic, and/or existential anguish that individuals experience when the environment close to their home is changing.
For this prompt, reflect on what change you have either already experienced or imagine experiencing in the future. From warmer winters to wildfires to water pollution, let us know how a particular change—or projected change—impacts your psyche, as Gabriel Goodwin and Hanan Adi do in these beautiful pieces. Be as specific as you can in describing the change in your life. For example, if a new migration pattern means the loss of a beloved bird, tell us how that bird has impacted your life. Have you awoken to its song, followed its prints in the mud, searched for its feathers in the forest? Or if winter’s later onset means no longer sledding in December, tell us what this change means to you.