Climate change grief is somehow a young concept, and the scientists are just getting a glimpse of what it is exactly. Also known as either environmental grief or solastalgia which means the homesickness feeling triggered by the changes the environment boasts around us. Recently, the American Psychological Association came up with a comprehensive report about climate change grief or solastalgia.
The topic also became of great importance for Canadians, as the so-called environmental grief was debated in the House of Commons, while Health Canada is exploring this conditions in-depth.
“It is gaining more traction,’ said Katie Hayes from the University of Toronto, cited by The Canadian Press, while Ashlee Cunsolo, a professor at the Memorial University, stated that “people talked about deep sadness, people talked about anxiety. A lot of different words for pain. A lot of trembling in the voice. There were definitely tears. People were feeling displaced in their homes.”
Climate Change Grief Is Now Under The Focus of Scientists
According to the experts, extreme weather events are triggering climate change grief more than everything else. “There are still lingering effects from the flood. There’s anxiety when it rains, on the anniversary, as people cross the bridge to go into High River,” Ashlee Cunsolo said, referring to the 2013 flood in High River, in Alberta.
In a study of the scientists at the University of Alberta, the researchers also found similar behaviors after the wildfire in Fort McMurray.
“We’re looking at broader psycho-social impacts, things like weakened social ties or increased addictions or even increased aggression in relation to domestic violence. Some of the impacts can take place right away or take months or even years,” explained Peter Berry from Health Canada.
According to Julia Payson from the Canadian Mental Health Association, people can cope with solastalgia only by coming out to discuss and admit they suffer from climate change grief. “We acknowledge our feelings. We know it’s important to have them. We look for people to support us, we look for actions we can take to take back a feeling of control,” she said.