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Solastalgia and Wild Fire: Glenn Albrecht Talk Tue 30 Oct

  • Sustainability

The Emotions of Fire and Smoke

Presentation will be introduced by Polly Higgins

Fire is primordial and elemental as it has always been part of the psychic and material existence of human beings. Traditional cultures learnt to live with fire and to control it with, for example, Australian Aboriginal people doing so over ten of thousands of years despite living in a fire-prone environment and a gradually drying climate. Under the impact of global warming fire is once again becoming a life-enemy and is ‘out of control’ on an unprecedented scale. Even with the use of technologies such as fire-bombing aircraft, well-equipped fire-trucks and thousands of human firefighters, wild-fire is now capable of consuming all living beings and life forms in its path.

"I will explore what I call, the ‘psychoterratic’ or psyche-earth dimensions of fire and smoke in a rapidly warming world," says Glenn Albrecht. "The direct impact of wild fire on people is devastating and terrifying, an emotional experience I have named ‘tierratrauma’. As the fire is extinguished and people return to desolated home landscapes they also experience ‘solastalgia’, defined by me as the lived experience of chronic, negative environmental change. It is easy to see the ecological and economic costs of wild fire, yet it is a lot harder to see the emotional costs on humans and non-human beings. It is time that we once again looked directly into the flames in order to repair our burnt-out emo

Polly Higgins writes: "Professor Glen Albrecht is someone I value enormously. He brings not just new concepts to our consciousness, he shares a new lexicology to comprehend - and therefore address - collective trauma as well as collective care. His work has proven to be deeply influential and invaluable in the world of Earth law, eco-psychology and trauma work. I am delighted that he has accepted our invitation to come to Hawkwood - it’s a rare opportunity to hear and meet the foremost expert of psychoterratica."

Glenn Albrecht is Honorary Fellow in the School of Geosciences, The University of Sydney, having served in academia in Australia and UK. He is an environmental philosopher with both theoretical and applied interests in the relationship between ecosystem and human health. He has publications in the field of animal ethics, the social impact of fracking and coal mining and the impact of climate change on communities. He is a pioneer of transdisciplinary thinking and of new concepts such as his idea of ‘The Symbiocene’ and ‘Solastalgia.’ His new book, ‘Earth Emotions: New Words for a New World’, published by Cornell University Press, will be released in May 2019.

Polly Higgins is a Scottish advocate and expert in ecocide. She presented to the United Nations Law Commission a proposal for ecocide to be recognised as an international crime. Higgins is also the author of Eradicating Ecocide and creator of the first non-commercial trust fund for Earth Protectors. She lives in Stroud.

Arrival 7.30 pm, bar

Presentation begins at 8.00 pm

Suggested donation £5 - £10

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