Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Interview by: Anita Peebles
Steve Hammond has been Co-Pastor of Peace Community Church in Oberlin for 33 years, along with his wife Mary. Steve and Mary are both Protestant Chaplain Affiliates for the Oberlin College Office of Religious and Spiritual Life. Steve was the youngest of 18 children in his family. He enjoys running and hanging out with his grandchildren.
Tappan Square, you sense the history of this place as youre walking through there. I think the trees in this town are amazing.
Q: What words or images would you use to describe Oberlin?
A: Friendly, historical, trees, Tappan Square, the church, campus, certain people that I know just being here. I just think Tappan Square is the greatest place in the world. I try to get into Tappan Square every day if I can. One of the things I like about Oberlin is that it is such a historic place, thats another reason I like Tappan Square, you sense the history of this place as youre walking through there. I think the trees in this town are amazing, I love it when the leaves are off the trees in the winter and you can see how many trees there are. There are a lot of people in this town I respect and Im glad these people live here.
Q: If you defined sustainability for your own life, how would you do that?
A: I think sustainability means that I am conscious of things being limited. Sustainability is trying to preserve the future.
Q: What actions are you engaged in that relate to sustainability?
A: I made a conscious decision to be a vegetarian for sustainability reasons. It doesnt make sense to be feeding animals all that stuff so I can eat them. We bought a Prius. We keep our heat down to 60 degrees when we are working at home so we are often cold, but you can always put more layers on. Weve done all of the light bulb things, put in high efficiency furnace, put in new storm windows to cut down on our energy consumption. I take showers and use as little water as I can, turning it off when I am rinsing and stuff. We dont keep lights on, we recycle.
I think water conservation is one of the biggest things right now.
Q: What actions are you [your business or organization] engaged in that relate to sustainability? (i.e. water conservation, electric conservation, local spending, education, services, and/or products as an example.)
A: I think water conservation is one of the biggest things right now. Lets not waste what we have and find ways to utilize it in the best way. And thats what hydroponic does.
Q: Why do you think these actions are important?
A: They are important because being just off of Lake Erie with all that fresh water, you take for granted what other peoples dont have. And you look at places like California--they had water, but they wont reuse it. Theres a problem there. I dont see a problem with reusing water and filtrating it properly and such. Theyre quickly realizing that their ways have to change or they are not going to make it. And then places like Arizona, they rely on things like canals to bring the water in. And there, they have peak and non-peak hours of which you can use water. We take access to fresh water for granted over here on the East Coast, but in places that really need it, I think the awareness needs to be heightened for us, as well. Just because we have it, dont flaunt it.
Q: Is there anything you would like to tell your fellow community members regarding care for the environment/sustainable living and respect for nature?
A: Just care. You cant stop litterbugs, but if we all bend over to pick up a piece of trash here and there to throw it out, that would help. Reduce, dont waste. Be more conscious of what you are doing. Im not saying make drastic changes, but be aware. Have an awareness. We need this environment to be around for a while.
Q: Is there a reason you chose those words?
A: Well, I say that because come fall every year we have a new batch of college students with brand new ideas and hopes and desires for their lives. So I think that adds to the mix. By the time they are seniors though, they have a grasp of what they really want, which sort of keeps things in check. But I honestly think that Oberlin is vibrant and growing because of all of the ideas that come out of the college and the community.
Q: Are there other people in the community that you think we should interview about their commitment to sustainability or sustainable actions in their life?
A: We have lived here for some years now, but we have never really been involved like we are right now. I am a new venture and am just starting to learn everyone, but I would say The Oberlin Project has been very helpful to us and introduced us to many new people and businesses. The Oberlin Project are the ones that I would recommend right off the bat.
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