Ali Yedes

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Ali Yedes

Interview by: Anita Peebles

Q: What words or images would you use to describe Oberlin?

A: Theres so many things to say about Oberlin: the character, initiation, and leading in the things like the environment. And of course history: [being] the first to do things; initiation in terms of politics, and Ill say it again, the environment. Its that idea of being fearless, courageous enough to start and do things that might not please the others. Ive been here for about 13 years, of course the Lewis Center was there, and I remember my first apartment in Elm Street, just facing it. And you know, I was curious about it, and I was so amazed. As a matter of fact, each time I have a visitor, Ive taken them, proudly. Look where I am!

Q: So if you define sustainability for your own life, what would that be? What does sustainable living mean to you?

A: It means a lot! It means freedom, less dependability on others, it means peace of mind. That sense of satisfaction that youre contributing to sustainability of the whole world, rather than encouraging a system of life that is dependent on other sources of energy. Once you dont have it, youre stuck [in] that situation. Theres so many things that could be reused, recycled with a little effort.

Q: What other sustainable living choices are you making?

A: Its a way of life, you know, raising awareness, educating about the importance of recycling. Once you learn how to recycle one thing, its an attitude, you start thinking about recycling everything. What I do here, each time I go to my bathroom and wash my hands, I take a little piece of paper and dry my hands. I never throw that in the trash, I bring it back, and reuse it. I think This is not trash. If I accumulate a lot, I take it home and use it. I just feel its not right theres a lot of things that we could do and a lot of trash that is not trash.

"The whole world is a community, one single community."

Q: So how do you feel that these options are important? Why are they important to you?

A: Ah, very important. I have some inside satisfaction, when I bring it here, when I see other people not doing it, Im doing something. It does not affect me, what people think, if I think its right, its right.

Q: Can you speak a little bit about what inspires you to take these actions?

A: Its that awareness, that I dont know where the world is going without some kind of action that we people need to do something. Its not about Oberlin only, theres many studies that water is really scarce now in the whole world. Go to Africa, go to others and see whats going on. Water is very scarce. The whole world is a community, one single community. Some of the natural things just disappear on us, animals are disappearing.

Q: Is there anything that youd like to tell your fellow community members, either in the Oberlin community or other communities about respect for nature and making choices that are good for everyone?

A: Well you said it, respect for nature. If you feel part of this world and youre as important as that rock or that tree; if you get to that stage of thinking, then youve accomplished something. You start really to exist. Otherwise, you know, this existence without situating ourselves within a large community of existence everything. If you are into religion, we believe that every single existence, like plants and all that, they breathe, they can choke like we choke, and they flourish. My father used to be a farmer, and certain plants theyd say, "You do not get in there and step all over all of those plants because they will be saddened and some will get bitter. You do not get in there and invade that space. You sadden the plants and they dont like it." So I grew up with the fact that plants are a living existence, its living, its a living being like us.

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