Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper


Timberlina: a lifetime of eco-anxiety

Performer, Timberlina, writes about life-long eco fears and performs  FFS!!, a glittering show of spectacularly bearded alt-drag proportions about reaching peak-worry and overcoming eco-anxiety. It’s a Women’s Institute meets late night psychedelic toke of folk wisdom, blues and rock ‘n’ roll.

“As I am sure is the case with others rapidly approaching middle age, I seem to spend much of my days thinking about time and more specifically where it’s gone. How songs released nearly thirty years ago feel like yesterday. How that time I lived in London Fields was not five or ten, but in fact twenty years ago.

“Two years ago it was the thirtieth anniversary of Chernobyl. I thought back to my childhood memories, when I was indignant about the wrath of nuclear power and acid rain. I remember being the only kid in the class to take the film, ‘Threads’ seriously, wearing my bright yellow two-headed ‘souvenir of Sellafield’ sheep broach and joining friends at Greenham Common demonstrations, while discussing cooperation and ecology with Quakers.

“It’s nearly a decade since I moved out of London to create a more subsistent lifestyle in Rye. I yearned for outdoor space, fresh air and mud – and wanted to get more involved with nature and community. For the same cost as a room in a shared house in Camberwell, I could afford a whole fisherman’s cottage in a small town by the sea all to myself. Furthermore I could assist in the upkeep of the kitchen garden at the local National Trust house and teach myself the lay of the land with some much welcome tips from staunch locals. Most importantly, I would not need to earn a lot of money and nor did I want to.


“Subsistence was the key. I could grow my own veg and partake in foraging, freecycling and generally minimising my carbon footprint. I could indulge in wistful, melancholic walks along the riverside, bemoaning the frivolous debris humanity had jettisoned to be washed up on the shore and entangle whatever wildlife came upon it.

“With every HGV and four by four that shook the house as it passed, my anxiety grew. Perhaps it was a focus on the natural world that gave me a greater awareness to the senseless, selfish and incessant ecological damage caused by the daily routine of people and their self-important lives. My worry grew. I would cower at the bathroom door while my partner indulged in long hot baths: ‘Why can’t you shower under a trickle like me?’, I would sob.

“Then, one day I came to the realisation that I was at an age where I had now spent more time in my conscious life worrying than there was (probably) time left to worry. I had, in effect, reached ‘peak worry’.

“And what was it all for? I realised that this constant worrying about the wrath of humanity and never-ending sense of impending ecological disaster had achieved nothing more than a mountain of resentment.

“I had determinedly striven to undertake the burden of responsibility, put myself out, gone without in order to make the world a better place. I even found eco-anxiety on the internet. Apparently it’s a bona fide condition and popular on the West Coast of America. The cure I discovered was to manage the anxiety bit, whilst letting the world take care of itself. Great, I thought. Never mind the ‘eco’ bit, let’s make sure we feel better. Apparently carrying a small rock is good to ensure you have something natural to ground you.

“The world will take care of itself and we’ll know about it. In the meantime I am focussing on being nice to myself, even aspiring to material things and earning more money, which is a whole new adventure. I admit I’m still ambivalent about it, but I am aware of the responsibilities.

“And that’s the key really. On the whole, people are naff but it’s not their fault. They are not aware of the consequences of their actions, because that’s not how pretty marketing and comfortable consumer lifestyle and competition works. Bring back Captain Planet! Because when the rapture comes there will be nowhere to plug in your hair dryer.”

Timberlina presents FFS!! at Printworks Hastings on Wednesday 22 November 2017. More information at: Timberlina.



Posted 15:42 Wednesday, Nov 15, 2017 In: Performance

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