Interview with Tanya Loretta Dee
As an actress and poet what do you feel you and your peers could be doing to do more good?
Regardless of job status, at some point in their life every person will see injustice in front of them. They will then maybe empathise. They will then make a choice; to either help try stop that injustice, or to do nothing. Most creative people I know are drawn to “doing good work” to make the world better, to broaden peoples understanding on current affairs. No, not all those good works are to do with protecting the environment, but still doing good work nonetheless. Looking behind closed doors and being very curious is a trait of many actors. I personally have tried to find answers to injustice, to ask “why?” at every given opportunity. This is a good starting point for creative people who want to make a difference in the world. Once you have that awareness, when you find an injustice you can relate to, that moves you, how can you not want to help? I think it starts with confidence, knowing that every good effort will have some impact, no matter how big or small. This can relate to the environment too.
Being involved in this project and knowing environmentally aware artists must have had an impact on you, do you think you would have discovered these issues without them in your life?
I was born in Birmingham, but left home to live in sunny Bognor Regis at the age of 16. I specifically wanted to live near the sea! I didn’t understand why at the time, only that being near the water made myself and everyone around me smile, and feel alive. The sea, the woods, the sun, the earth, the sky… I feel a strong pull to all these parts of nature, nature to me is everything. It’s alive just as much as we are! It breathes as we do. I didn’t really feel the connection to animals or the impact of myself and what I do to effect the earth, until I got much older. Of course I knew I should be “doing my bit for the planet”(you knooooow using roll on deodorant instead of spray, putting my plastic yogurts pots in the recycling, not dropping litter so that baby hedgehogs don’t die, watching Watership Down…) and thinking that was enough. Of course, it is not enough. I have been very lucky over the last seven years to have met and loved passionate people, conservationists, artists, poets, activists – all these people have brought to my attention how I effect the planet, because they are passionate and try and make difference. There are also some really good documentaries on Netflix that everyone should watch; they aren’t full of jargon and easy to understand. They also helped! I also have to say that having my dog Jasmine has really changed how I connect with animals and nature. She has a personality and some degree of knowledge, she feels pain, she breathes, she needs nourishment, she is warm and full of light. I imagine all animals carry similar qualities. But you have to connect with something to understand how it works, just like I connect with my dog and now love her more than anything, others need to feel that connection. Thank goodness there are people out there trying to connect humans to nature!
Tell me something that you will miss the most about nature – and make it rhyme.
I sat under a tree when I was four,
She is not there anymore.
I’d crawl and hide under her leafy shade
Where sunlight cracked and twinkles made
A shadow cast. Gone is my wonderful wood.
Still. Here is McDonalds. Where once she stood.