Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Interview by: Lydia Moran
Francine Toss graduated from Oberlin College in 1971. She is currently the librarian at Eastwood Elementary School and co-owner of the Carlyle Shop.
Q: What words or images would you use to describe Oberlin?
A: Interesting, challenging. A beautiful place and quiet usually. A lot of green space, lovely flowers and trees at this time of the year in particular.
Q: Is there a specific thing that comes into your mind when you think of the word sustainability?
A: Well I think of it as an Oberlin effort. Recently its a major term in our lives but I think its always been right there in Oberlin by maintaining green space. A couple of decades ago we had a big emphasis when the college redid all the gardens that [they] would sustain and maintain themselves, and that was a big point to all of us at how lovely it could be. It was responsible in that you werent breaking open the ground over and over again. Also things like the bike path and natural plantings and things like that are always just sort of right there.
Q: I know sustainability has always been present but was there ever a time that you can remember when there was a big shift or push forward for sustainability in Oberlin?
A: That time Professor Jones was doing tours on Tappan of the trees that were there, it was celebrating the maintenance of living things. And now I think this will be another major change with the ecolympics that were doing here at the school and the recycling of all the refuse here in town. I think thats going to be seen as another major bridge to the next step.
Q: Do you feel like you take any actions in your business or your home life that relate to the concept of sustainability?
A: Well in my home Ive switched over to all energy efficient light bulbs and stuff like that. I dont use much water anyway, but I try not to overdo anything. In my plantings in my yard I try to be careful about using mulch and things like that that will maintain the water I get. I am co-owner of the Carlyle shop uptown and weve tried to improve our lighting. Weve tried to recycle as much as we can- the greens and the cardboard and the other products that come into the shop. Other than that were doing some composting at my home. It isnt much it seems but I think every little bit counts.
If everybody does a little bit itll all add up, and if nobody does anything itll be a disaster.
Q: How do you feel that these actions are important?
A: Well theyre important in that if everybody does a little bit itll all add up, and if nobody does anything itll be a disaster. I think they help just a little bit. But they dont hurt!
Q: If there anything specific or any person that inspires you to take these actions?
A: I would have to reference Ed Thomson again, the buildings and grounds guy. I have friends who are very conscious of recycling and doing things that help keep us all here on this earth longer and healthier. So its just common people who are doing the right thing and I like to be part of that group.
Q: Is there anything youd like to tell your fellow community members regarding the environment or nature in general?
A: I often say that Oberlin is just two miles square and a lot of us are sharing that two miles square. So if we can work together to respect one another in lots of different ways, space, air, resources, well all be here a lot longer and have a happier healthier life here in Oberlin. Thats one of the things that is good about Oberlin. Its insulated from a lot of things so it has that responsibility to make this insulated little world we have a good place and only we can do that.
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