The land mourns

By Andi Lloyd
Christian Century
September 1, 2022

Hosea testifies to an earth that laments with its people.

In 2005, Australian philosopher Glenn Albrecht published a paper naming a new emotion: solastalgia. The word describes the pain we feel when we see environmental change in the places we call home. In justifying his decision to make up a new word, Albrecht pointed out that English has very few words that connect emotional and environmental states. Albrecht found plenty of examples of solastalgia: among Australian farmers during lengthy droughts, residents of Louisiana following Katrina, and survivors of the tsunami in Southeast Asia in 2004.

In the years since, environmental scientists and environmental psychologists have honed the concept further, arguing that what we feel in this time of climate change is outright grief: a grief unique enough and pervasive enough to have its own name. Ecological grief, or climate grief.

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