Suffering from... solastalgia?

Found yourself yearning for greener climes? Then check out this diagnosis...

by Helen Kirwan-Taylor -
Last Updated: 08 Nov 2010

Missing the good old days? Solastalgia is the yearning for the way a place used to be before the world was overcome with toxic fumes, noise pollution, global warming and volcanic ash.

Coined by Glenn Albrecht, professor of sustainability at Murdoch University in Australia, the term was first used to refer to farmers whose land changed forever because of droughts, monsoon, earthquakes or hideous property developments.

The term combines the Latin word solacium (comfort) and the Greek root algia (pain), which Albrecht defined as 'the pain experienced when the place where one resides and that one loves is under immediate assault... a form of homesickness one gets when one is still at "home".'

So how does this affect someone not working on an Australian plain? For some, it may be having a park nearby to sit in while eating a sandwich at lunch. So when a corporation decides to move from a leafy part of town to an inner-city former warehouse overlooking a parking lot to cut costs - and offers a plant as a sad excuse for nature - workers develop symptoms of solastalgia, including anxiety, despair, powerlessness and grief.

The answer? After you've designed the break-out space, meditation pod, solarium and gym, staff cafe, creche and parking lot, consider adding a butterfly meadow garden complete with a stream. The more solacium you offer employees, the less of an algia they'll be.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

Could coronavirus lead to gender equality?

Opinion: Enforced home-working and home-schooling could change the lives of working women, and the business...

Mike Ashley: Does it matter if the public hates you right now?

The Sports Direct founder’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has drawn criticism, but in the...

4 films to keep you sane during the coronavirus lockdown

Cirrus CEO Simon Hayward shares some choices to put things in perspective.

Pandemic ends public love affair with Richard Branson et al

Opinion: The larger-than-life corporate mavericks who rose to prominence in the 80s and 90s suddenly...

The Squiggly Career: How to be a chief strengths spotter

When leading remotely, it's more important than ever to make sure your people spend their...

"Blind CVs don't improve your access to talent"

Opinion: If you want to hire socially mobile go-getters, you need to know the context...