TESSA
"You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have decide what kind of difference you want to make". Jane Goodall. 

Hi Tessa! How have you been during the
se unusual times, that seem to have swallowed up 2020?

Hey Alex! Yeah, it's definitely been an unprecedented start to the year. Lots to reflect on, learn from and feel grateful for. I've been well, and keeping busy chipping away at my Masters degree, surfing lots, reading, watching films, doing the odd voiceover job, and staying healthy.
 


We’d love to hear about your journey to becoming an actor and environmentalist. 

It was a pretty natural journey for me, although I know the two fields could seem like opposites. I did drama all through school and loved it, but then went to Uni and found environmental science super interesting too, so I did an Arts/Science degree majoring in Geosciences/Sustainability. Then while working for the Government as an environmental planner I decided to rekindle my love for performance. This meant sneaking out to do agent meetings and cheeky auditions on my lunch break and before too long I booked the lead in a TV series! Was a dream come true, so of course I left my job, and 8 years later I'm still working as an actor/voice over artist and I love it. Except last year my science brain needed some juice so I went back to Uni and started a Post Grad degree - a Masters of Sustainable Development and Climate Policy. It's a juggle sometimes but I love how everything has come full circle and I'm doing both. Our current environmental issues are so concerning, I really felt at a loss as to what to do, but studying has certainly helped - knowledge is always power. 


Growing up on Sydney’s northern beaches, the ocean must be a special place to you. What are some ways that you enjoy connecting with the ocean and nature? 

For sure, the ocean has always been a huge part of my life and I'm so thankful for that. Growing up in North Narrabeen there's a such a strong surfing community, it seemed normal to spend every morning/arvo/weekend in the ocean. For me starting so young I just fell head over heels obsessed with surfing, and I still am to be honest. But it's amazing how you don't even have to grow up by the beach to have a special connection with our oceans. The oceans are calming, and cleansing, and humbling....so many things, for so many people. Nature is so generous like that. 

What is one positive moment that is of significance to you so far this year? 

That's a hard one with so many big issues swirling around. In terms of the Black Lives Matter movement, here and in the U.S. I think it's great to see the tough conversations are being had, resources are being shared, and with all this down time self-education is on the rise. I've enjoyed the quieter pace for that reason, and lately have been reading up on Intersectional Environmentalism, which acknowledges the link between the injustices towards marginalised communities and the environment. Heaps more info and resources available here
 
The 5 plastic free products in your kitchen cupboard are? 

In the kitchen there's beeswax wraps (instead of cling wrap), reusable coffee cups / so many repurposed jars, reusable shopping & produce bags (amazing for loose leaf greens/salad). I'm also using a shampoo/conditioner bar, wooden toothbrush, and of course my trusty water bottle. It's amazing when you start looking for plastic in your home just how much of we consume/use without even realising. These products aren't paramount though....buying second hand or reusing what you already have is always the best way. 

Small actions make a difference. What advice can you give those who may not understand that we need to be reducing our consumption, and living a little more consciously. 

Consumption is fine so long as it's sustainable. But the reality is - it's usually not, and we really don't need even half of the crap we have. I recently read an amazing e-book about micro-plastics, written by my friend Alice Forrest (free download here). It scared me to learn how plastic has now broken down so small researchers are seeing it cross through cell barriers and ending up inside the flesh of fish. We eat that fish! It's so small you can't even see it, that's the truly scary thing because it's a huge health risk, beyond just making our beaches looked trashed. If anyone's interested in learning more, I interviewed Alice recently, you can watch the full clip here ! 

It's really tough changing minds, and even tougher convincing people to change their habits, but learning about a problem is the first step. And if everyone just committed to making one change (for example, cutting out plastic bags) and sticking to it, it would have a HUGE impact. However small or seemingly insignificant it may feel, it's absolutely not. 

July 29, 2020 — Alexandra Dash

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