In 2003, the landscape of New South Wales, Australia, was turning inside-out. Persistent droughts were sucking the earth dry while open cut mining left scars in the ground tens of meters deep. Reflecting on the destabilizing events, the philosopher Glenn Albrecht coined the term solastalgia, describing it as a “form of mental or existential distress caused by environmental change.” If nostalgia refers to the sadness people feel when separated from a home they love then solastalgia is the sickness people experience when directly connected to a changing environment. The victims of 2018’s Camp Fire might be experiencing solastalgia at this very moment as they continue to come to terms with their losses. Likewise, much of the American Midwest suddenly finds itself confronting unprecedented conditions that threaten to overturn the seasonal planting cycles that are foundational to the region’s industry and way of life. . Others, meanwhile, might recognize solastalgia as a constant low-level anxiety, perpetuated by the deluge of disaster-stricken climate reporting, detailed most starkly by the IPCC climate report’s assertion that we only have 12 years to avoid climate catastrophe.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/wjvkby/gamings-climate-dread-in-a-4k-streaming-ecosystem