Thursday, 19 February 2009


Soliphilia: The Antidote to Solastalgia

I have a neologism for you (yes, another one). I have developed the concept of solastalgia to describe the pain or sickness caused by the inability to derive solace from the present state of one’s home environment. It is the lived experience of negatively perceived environmental change to one’s ‘sense of place’ and existential well-being. It is closely linked to feelings of powerlessness and a loss of hope about the future. In summary, it is the melancholia or homesickness experienced while you are still at home and your home environment is being gradually desolated. I have written about solastalgia in relation to large-scale mining, drought and changing climates. There are many posts on this Blog (Healthearth) that give more detail on solastalgia.

I am now working on the positive concept of soliphilia. I define soliphilia as:

the love of and responsibility for a place, bioregion, planet and the unity of interrelated interests within it.

The soli is from solidarity with meanings connected to:

A union of interests, purposes, or sympathies among members of a group; fellowship of responsibilities and interests.
[French solidarité, from solidaire, interdependent, from Old French, in common, from Latin solidus, solid, whole.] ( )

I offer this concept as a cultural and political addition to the other ‘philias’ that have been created. E.O Wilson’s biophilia or the love of life is critically important in the context of empathy and engagement with all life. Tuan’s concept of topophilia is a vital part of love of landscape and place and our sense of place. Soliphilia is now added to love of life and place to give us the love of the whole (life + place at all scales) and the solidarity between us that is needed to keep what we all hold in common healthy and strong. Now we have a love of the politics of place where our motivation to defeat solastalgia and other forces that cause sickness and extinction is captured in a new concept. Soliphilia goes beyond left-right politics and provides a universal motivation to achieve sustainability.

I would like your thoughts on this neologism and my reason for creating it.

Yours, in soliphilia, Glenn.



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