December 14 2018

If Tricked Up Science Doesn’t Work, Hit Up Their Emotions: ‘People Talk About Deep Sadness’ – Scientists Study Climate Change Grief

His canvases are painted from first-hand observation by a brush wielded in the outdoors and glow with the colors of…

His canvases are painted from first-hand observation by a brush wielded in the outdoors and glow with the colors of the Canadian wilderness. But British Columbia artist Dominik Modlinski doesn’t take his paints into the woods much anymore.

“I felt I can’t go on my painting trips because everything is covered in smoke,” he said. “I can’t go to some areas I love to go because you can’t see anything.

“I feel somebody is controlling my life and I can’t do anything about it. It does affect my mood.”

Mental-health researchers around the world are taking notice of what people feel when the world they’ve always known changes gradually or suddenly from climate change.

Some call it environmental grief, some call it solastalgia – a word coined for a feeling of homesickness when home changes around you.

The American Psychological Association has released a lengthy report into solastalgia. So has the British medical journal The Lancet.

Australian farmers report rising levels of depression as their drought-stricken lands blow away. An international group of climate scientists maintain a website entitled Is This How You Feel?

House of Commons committees have discussed it. Health Canada is exploring the topic.

“It is gaining more traction,” said researcher Katie Hayes from the University of Toronto.

In Canada, Memorial University professor Ashlee Cunsolo released a paper in 2013 on Inuit in the tiny Labrador community of Rigolet. People spoke of the sorrow they felt about being cut off from places they’d visited for generations because of vanishing sea ice.

“People talked about deep sadness,” Cunsolo said. “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.” (Read More)