HomeInternational Journal on Social Innovation & Researchvol. 7 no. 1 (2016)

Solastalgia, Well-being and Ecological Conscience: Discovering the Inner Ecological Self and the Demands of Laudato Si’

Bro. Jose Unlayao



Human well-being necessarily includes ecological well-being and any disturbance in the latter definitely affect the former. Te prevailing environmental and ecological conditions of the Earth are getting worse resulting to what experts call psychoterratic illnesses, or earth-related psychological sickness. These illnesses affects the general wellbeing of every person on the planet in different degrees depending on the state of things or the prevailing capacity of the environment to provide ecological services to humans. One of these psychoterratic illnesses is solastalgia, described as the pain or sickness caused by the loss or lack of solace and the sense of isolation connected to the present state of one’s home or territory, or in short, it is the feeling of homesickness while one is still at “home.” This happens when a familiar and loved place is under threat of disappearance or irreversible change. In this paper, the author argued that solastalgia is both a symptom and a response of conscience to a perceived evil or bad. While solastalgia is not the conscience and vice versa, it serves as an ecological voice calling, man to restore balance, harmony and goodness in his relationship with nature. The experience of solastalgia is a manifestation of a disturbed moral and ecological wellbeing. At the same time, it is also an indicator of a certain level of moral and ecological maturity since it is a sign that the person is able to perceive something that is not in conformity with the laws of God and the commands of a well-formed conscience. It is likewise a contention that a person who has an uneducated and not well-formed conscience is unable to experience solastalgia. In such case, that person will not see anything wrong with vanishing ecosystem, or threatened place or home, and will not also feel any guilt, nostalgia, pain, or responsibility over destroyed environment or threatened ecology. Thus, the need to have a well-formed ecological and moral well-being is necessary. Eco-moral well-being is in conformity with the demands of a new eco-lifestyle described and encouraged by the Church in her social doctrines and in the Papal Encyclicals of ecological importance. Eco-moral wellbeing and solastalgia can then be included as important elements in renewed and reinvigorated ecological pastoral programs and education in schools and parishes so that the Christian community will see the value and beauty of God’s creation more and resolve to become true stewards.