Covid-19, Pandemics and Solastalgia.

Glenn A Albrecht, ‘Solastalgia: Environmental damage has made it possible to be homesick without leaving home’. From Alternatives Journal 32:4/5 2006.

Covid-19, Pandemics and Solastalgia.

“Any context in which pervasive change to the existing order challenges place identity has potential to deliver solastalgia. Transformative technologies and emergent disease (for human and non-human life) have enabled change to occur to cultural and natural environments at a speed that makes adaptation difficult, if not impossible.

While some may respond to such stress with nostalgia, and want to return to a desired past place or time, others will experience solastalgia, and express a strong desire to sustain those things that provide solace …….

The concept of solastalgia can also be applied to understanding the social impacts of disease epidemics. For example, in the UK’s 2001 epidemic of foot and mouth disease, government policy intended to prevent the spread of the ailment resulted in the slaughter of as many as 10 million animals. The loss of the animals and their absence from the landscape and economy caused great distress in rural England.

A study from Lancaster University found that the epidemic had far-reaching psychosocial impacts. Farmers and community members directly affected by the sudden change to the environment felt “distress, feelings of bereavement, fear of a new disaster … flashbacks, nightmares and uncontrollable emotion.”

With an increasing incidence of emergent diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Asian Bird Flu and SARS, whole social environments can be rendered at risk of rapid and complete transformation. When, for example, thousands of animals must be slaughtered or whole communities and institutions (such as hospitals) must be isolated from the rest of the world, solastalgia is a likely outcome for those affected.

The HIV pandemic in Africa affects community integrity so profoundly that sense of home and family relationships are desolated. In such circumstances, home becomes pathological, and those who are living with the disease as well as their caregivers experience acute solastalgia and a devastating disease burden.”

Glenn Albrecht 2006, extracted from:…/creative-communities-324-5