Saturday, March 7, 2009

Books and libraries

I have decided to reduce the number of books I buy. I only intend to purchase reference books that I think I will use regularly enough over time. I hope to satisfy all my other book needs via the local public and university libraries.

I arrived at this decision due to the environmental, financial and time costs:

  • Acquisition. There are all the environmental costs in production, transportation, wholesaling and retailing.

  • Storage. You need bookshelves, space to put the bookshelves and energy to light/heat/cool the space for the bookshelves. Then you can spend time organising, cleaning and tidying the bookshelves. Re-arranging and moving become much larger jobs, the more you have.

  • Disposal. All the time and effort in getting rid of them responsibly, e.g. finding someone else who might use them rather than just throwing them in the recylce bin.
These issues apply to many things and the earth only has finite resources. As a global society, especially Western society, we need to dramatically reduce individually acquiring/consuming stuff.

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