My neighbour tore down the hedge outside our window - and I learned what 'solastalgia' feels like | Damien Gayle

23. září 2023 9:30


It's part of the language of environmental activism in the global south. But living in a UK city, I'd never connected with itThere stood, outside my front room window, until about a month ago, a proud little elder tree. A bough grew entwined with a towering hedge, separating our front garden from next door's.Mostly, to be fair, it was an ugly tangle of vegetation, out of place in our posh south London neighbourhood. But it was the perfect hiding place for prowling cats and skulking foxes, and a cosy roost for clumsy wood pigeons and darting songbirds. For years, we watched a saga of urban flora and fauna play out through the window of our living room: the burst of elderflower in the spring; the coming and going of swifts; the fluffy fat robins of winter.Then, this summer, my children and I went for a few soggy days away in the Peak District, and came home to find our neighbour had had it all ripped out."Solastalgia" is a word coined by the Australian philosopher Glenn Albrecht in 2003, in an effort to articulate how people in New South Wales felt about vast tracts of the region being ripped apart by strip coal mining. It refers, he said, to the "distress produced by environmental change impacting on people while they are directly connected to their home environment".Damien Gayle is an environment correspondent for the Guardian Continue reading...


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