Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Interview by:Carolyn Burnham
Melissa Thompson is an Oberlin resident who has made sustainable changes in her home and daily life as a result of Providing Oberlin With Efficiency Responsibly (POWER). She has lived with her husband and two children in Oberlin for over 13 years and believes that being environmentally conscious is a natural part of being part of this community.
Q:What words or images would you use to describe Oberlin?
A: Diverse, community, on the cutting edge of new things, doing things in new ways, and being the first to do something. The diversity is very important to me. I think the diversity is not in different races, but in different economic status and interests. There are a lot of opportunities here. I would like for my children to be exposed to them.They will experience things here that they might not get to in another community. Community because this is a community where I feel safe, I feel connected, and I feel like I can have a voice. I feel like Im really a part of making it better. This is a place where you can really do that.
We all have a part in sustaining what we have, and not adding or taking away from it.
Q: What does sustainability mean to you?
A: Sustainability to me means being able to make the environment better. We all have a part in sustaining what we have, and not adding or taking away from it. We can all contribute to making it better.
Q: What actions do you take in regards to sustainability in your own life?
A: We recycle and we try to use limited water and limited electricity. We have had some work done through the POWER organization to do an energy audit in our home. Weve had some duct work done. Were better at conserving heat and energy in our home. Those are the things that stand out.
Q: Was it challenging to make those changes?
A: No, I dont think so. I think the challenge is actually just doing it consistently. You just have to start somewhere. POWER had done a visit in the neighborhoods, so they came to us and it wasnt something I sought out, but they brought it to me and it made sense that they wanted to save us money. It really has been beneficial to us in our household.
We all have a part in making our environment better. Its not going to change just because we are talking about it.
Q: How do you think sustainable actions are important?
A: I guess this is kind of a cheesy answer, but they make the world a better place. We can do it one at a time, one household at a time. My influence influences; whether its my children, my neighbor, or other people that I come across with sharing things that Ive tried that maybe they might try. The more people that try sustainable actions, the better our environment is for generations to come.
Q: Is there anything youd like to tell your fellow community members regarding care for the environment and respect for nature?
A: I think everyone has a part to play. Theres so much education out there. You know, I think that if you dont know what to do, find out what to do. We all have a part in making our environment better. Its not going to change just because we are talking about it. We have to actually do the work, and its one thing at a time. If its just recycling, I mean, thats a big piece. If its just saving on electricity and water, or composting... there are so many things we can do, if we just start somewhere, we can make it better.
Q: If there was just one small change you think people could make today, what would that be?
A: I think recycling is one thing I hadnt done for quite a while. We just adopted that in our home more recently. Its a habit, to not just throw everything all in one bin. Now we can put all our recycles in one thing and we dont have to separate them. Thats an easy place to start, thats not too complicated. Environmentalism really is for everyday folks, for us who are working and paying taxes in the community and contributing to leaving something behind once were not around anymore.
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