Borrow some of books you need from a library rather than buying them. Support libraries – there are social, environmental and community benefits. – The Eco Tip for the ninth Sunday after Trinity 2019. Twitter
Waste and Energy
Buying books has an environmental cost. It doesn’t matter whether you buy digital or print products. With print there is a one-off carbon cost at the start of the process and then providing you don’t set the book on fire… ‘the carbon captured therein remains safely stored’. With e-books the issues are more complicated. Instead of this one off hit, the costs in terms of energy use, the impacts from mining metals needed for batteries, and ultimately toxic e-waste leave a long tail of damage.
Support your library
Libraries are good for the earth, beyond their environmental benefits. The principle of a library: that good things might be shared or lent, lies unusually comfortably against Christian thinking about God. As the Church we are called to share with those in need, to seek the common good, and act in ways which privilege the disadvantaged. The unprecedented scale of library closures in the UK during the period of ‘austerity’ runs wholly counter to these objectives.
For the Christian there is no such thing as a ‘stranger’. There is only the neighbour: the person who happens to be next to us, the person most in need of our help. Whether they are related to us or not, whether we like them or not, doesn’t make any difference.”Edith Stein, Discalced Carmelite nun, Martyr (1942)
Libraries have been like a vaccine against the spread of commercial pressure to choose to consume to make a God from a religion of of conspicuous consumption and personal choice. The cuts to libraries in this phase of UK austerity are bad for neighbourhoods and destroy a shared store of knowledge that represents a kind of intellectual cement underpinning a thinking, democratic society.
Library cuts ‘impact on both my life and my child’s. Less opportunity to meet other parents and children. Less opportunity for my child to be introduced to books, reading, learning, socialising and communication’.Survey participant
In the absence of a public library service families are deprived of a non commercial space where children can be introduced to a community that runs on sharing, and people living with mental health issues have one fewer place where a welcome is assured and the only decisions are both non pressured and non commercial.