Monday, 9 December 2013

A New Field of Mental Health Study

We need novel earth-related concepts to give expression to our feelings about environmental and climatic change. I have created a ‘psychoterratic typology’ of earth related emotions and feelings that captures the field as it has evolved in past and contemporary environmental and place writing. I have now placed the concept of solastalgia within the psychoterratic typology. Solastalgia was created by me to fill a gap in our suite of earth-related emotions where people experience a deep form of existential distress when directly experiencing unwelcome change in their loved home environment. Solastalgia sits among closely related experiences of trauma, distress, grief and melancholia that are now, unfortunately, often connected to escalating occurrences of acute and chronic environmental change. These negative earth-related emotions and experiences already afflict many hundreds of thousands of people worldwide as they are confronted by both natural and human-caused climate and landscape change. I suggest that we call the “new field of mental health study, to probe the link between climate change and mental health” the domain of the psychoterratic.

Saturday, 30 November 2013


Topopinia: A longing, deep pining and coveting for a place you have never been to. 
“I have topopinia for Machu Picchu”.

Topos = place, pinia = Old English pinian ("torment"), from *pine “pain”, possibly from Latin poena ("punishment"), from Ancient Greek ποινή (poinē, "penalty, fine, bloodmoney"). Cognate to pain.


A form of symbionist social, cultural and literary criticism that evaluates all contributions from the perspective of their awareness of:

  • The degree of interconnectedness between the social world and the biological and ecological systems that support it
  • The need to see interconnectedness between current and future generations of humans
  • The ability to see the levels of exclusion and inclusion in the degree of interconnectedness in current generations
  • The level of awareness of the interconnectedness between different types of beings on this planet
  • The ability to convey the idea of a community of beings living together on this Earth
  • The contribution to the idea of sumbiosic development and the goal of living within the symbionment and The Symbiocene.

From sumbiosic: 
Those cumulative types of active and purposive relationships and attributes created by humans that enhance mutual interdependence and mutual benefit for all living beings so as to conserve and maximise a state of sumbiosity.
{Greek sumbiosis, companionship, Greek sumbios = living together, Greek bios = life, Greek suffix ic = adjective form of sumbiosity, Pronunciation: ‘soom-bi-o-sic’}

Friday, 15 November 2013

A Symbionmentalist or perhaps, a symbionist?

A person who supports the idea of the Symbionment (the organic and symbiotic interconnections of life that we are active participants in), through active engagement with others and creative acts that promote sumbiosity in the form of ecoculture, ecoagriculture, ecotechnologies and ecodesign in all aspects of our lives. Through sumbiosic development, we maintain our connections within the symbionment and help create The Symbiocene.

We have now got rid of some very difficult concepts that are part of the reason why we have failed to achieve the end state we have historically called sustainability.

An environmentalist = no wonder it is a word that generates disagreement in people. There is no such thing as 'the environment' (see below) so there cannot be an environmentalist!
The environment = if it is defined as all that is outside us, then the fact that the environment is also inside us and that we are inside the environment invalidates its common use as a concept.
Sustainability = has always implied a degree of stability, even rigidity in the human-nature relationship. Sumbiosity by contrast implies process and creative change ... just as we see in natural systems governed by the rules of entropy, evolution and ecology.
Sustainable Development = yes, it was always a dangerous oxymoron. Sumbiosic Development, by contrast, only permits those forms of development that promote endlessly creative sumbiosity.
The Anthropocene = time for this era to end before we do ourselves and the rest of the Earth's biota in.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Creating The Symbiocene

In order to have hope and to be able to convert that hope into meaningful change we must imagine a new meme, one that clearly signposts and paves the way to a good future beyond The Anthropocene. Let us try and imagine The Symbiocene. The Symbiocene will be characterised by a form of human intelligence that replicates in society the symbiotic and life reproducing processes to be found in life and natural systems. The vital elements of The Symbiocene might include, full recyclability of all inputs and outputs and the elimination of all forms of toxic pollution, safe and socially just renewable energy (preferably produced from that safe and distant nuclear reactor, the sun), full and harmonious integration with physical and living systems at all scales and the minimisation of entropy in all aspects of human enterprise. Such imagination includes all of our cultural and artistic responses to the challenge of creating The Symbiocene.
Once our children are empowered with this vision of the future, they will have the emotional energy to create it.