After watching the movie Religulous recently , I have come to a strange question to pose to the” conservative-drill-baby-drill-praise-jesus-praise”! crowd. So maybe some of the effects (greenhouse gases and their potential consequences) are invisible but so isn’t your God? Although it’s not something we can immediately see, its something people continue to live and believe in based on what MIGHT happen with their lives.

One argument is that “God controls” the Earth and the Earth will come to an end when he wants it to and there is no way we can control. But according to these beliefs, we have this thing called free will that lets us have choices. If we “left everything to God” why would we ever work for anything when we’re eventually going to end up in a predetermined place? Perhaps we DO control our lives and just like we can get up and slap the person across from you, you also have the same power to do harm to the land that your survival depends on.

I feel like I may get some hate mail for this but I’m not trying to undermine anyone’s beliefs. I believe there is a God but I don’t have a religion. If I do, it’s practicing care and consideration for life around me and not letting conservative politicians send me contradictory messages. What Would Jesus Do?

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I often think about the power of reproduction is often an environmental factor that is ignored. We often like to conveniently ignore the values that we hold dear to our hearts (like books!) in our conservation efforts. Baby-making happens to often be one of those values.
Some reasoning behind this:

– Our fear of “disappearing” after our deaths
– Societal pressures and expectations
– Justification that your kid is going to do more good than bad for the Earth
– the need to “have your own” kid and not adopt someone else’s

This author poses the idea of having a “last generation” in order to prevent more suffering to the human race.  I would have to say I disagree with this plan.

I think that pain is a natural part of life. Surely, past generations have seen less hopeful circumstances than we have. Imagine what would have been lost if they would have thrown in the towel back then. One might ask if we’ve made more positive progress than setbacks but I am a firm believer that the human race needs to struggle in order to produce something beautiful and WORTH LIVING FOR.

We have set up unfavorable living circumstances for the future, but, being a fairly passionate activist myself for a variety of issues, I find it extremely fulfilling to work towards change, even when opposition is pushing back at full force. In fact, I am more apt to wanting to raise a child in hopes that they will do more than I have and move society forward.

I completely understand those who choose not to reproduce, especially for environmental reasons. I only hope that these same people are doing so to fully put their efforts towards making things better and not because they’ve completely given up hope. I also hope that these same people would not judge those who decide to have kids. Everyone has their own way of contributing to the world and we should never strop trying, no matter what method we choose.

Also, adoption seems like a great way to help save the world while simultaneously raising someone to continue those efforts. I feel like the author of the NYT article fails to raise this important point. So many people look over this option, when in reality, before we continue to consume more resources (or have children) perhaps we should try to take care of what we have and take a responsibility to forgo our selfish ideas of an “ideal life or family” and try doing things a different way.

I’ve never been a fan of the Kindle. I like real books. I like the smell of old pages, of new pages, I like to write in the margins, fold my corners and go back and read those excerpts again. I like giving away books and take pride in the weight of books I have to transport whenever I move, as if carrying around a heavy trophy of knowledge. Basically, I’m a nerd. So when contemplating my reading options when I go to Kazakhstan, I came to the conclusion that when I’m only limited to transporting 100 lbs, books aren’t the best investment .

I decided that the Kindle was a smart choice because it’s lightweight, I could preload books before I move and the environmental footprint that I was concerned about before would be offset since I wouldn’t have books shipped all the way to Kazakhstan.

While doing research for my job, I found that universities are testing pilots that distribute textbooks through the Kindle.

This makes a lot of sense considering:

– this would take out the printing costs, which means lower costs for students – it would save paper and unneeded weight in your backpack

– updates in textbooks wouldn’t mean thousands of books being disposed of or recycled

– no worries about being able to sell back your books for the fraction that you bought them for…or being stuck with a book you can’t sell back but don’t have the heart to dispose of (recycle)

While digging deeper, I found that the carbon emitted over the life of the device is offset after the first year of use. According to an article from the New York Times, “in 2008, the U.S. book and newspaper industries combined resulted in the harvesting of 125 million trees, not to mention wastewater that was produced or its massive carbon footprint.”

“The report asserts that printed books have the highest per-unit carbon footprint — which includes its raw materials, paper production, printing, shipping, and disposal — in the publishing sector. “In the case of a book bought at a bookstore,” Ms. Ritch said, Cleantech’s measurement “takes into account the fossil fuels necessary to deliver to the bookstore and the fact that 25-36 percent of those books are then returned to the publisher, burning more fossil fuels.”

After that, Ms. Ritch said, there are three common next steps: “The publisher then incinerates, throws away or recycles them,” she said.

When the Kindle came out, I was sad that books probably had the same fate as albums and cd’s when mp3s came out. Goodbye. But after reading about the footprint of the publishing industry, I have less sorrow. I also considered how authors would profit from e-books but if you’re taking out printing costs, that could mean more money for the actual creator. As far as bootlegging goes, I don’t see it any different than a public library. I would have to say I haven’t purchased the majority of the books I’ve read in my lifetime.

If anything, having books electronically provides greater exposure for authors. Instead of reading a review and putting it on your “to-read” or “to buy/check out” list, you can download it immediately and get started! Also, who needs a publisher with e-books and why should we let publishers decide what we would want to read?

It’s a new age and I surprised myself at how little consideration I gave the Kindle before. I completely ignored its environmental benefits because of my attachment to books and justifying it by using mostly used textbooks. It makes me understand other people that I sometimes judge because they refuse to change old habits that are terrible for the environment. Changing values is hard.

I will always enjoy the feel of an actual book but I don’t think the Kindle is going to take that away from me just yet. Besides, all of the good books have already been printed!