Friday, January 13, 2012

Taking class

Given that this may be my last full semester here at the University of Michigan, I thought it would be great to take one last class. I haven't seriously taken a class in about two years, and I also figured that I ought to take a class with a focus on issues of philosophy, sociology, ethics, and history, given that I think it would be great to teach such classes in the future, if I were to be a teacher. The one thing that comes with such humanities and social science classes though, is reading material...physical reading material.

I bought ten books, seven of which were new, from the local bookstore. I could have bought the books used online, but I figured for a couple of reasons involving a lot of subconscious calculus that I should just buy the new books here versus the used books from elsewhere. Firstly, I would have had to deal with all of the packing material that comes from ordering books online, and it was likely that I would have ordered each book individually, therefore requiring individual packaging. Secondly, each book was likely to be shipped from a different, faraway location. Now, I understand that the books that I got at Ulrich's also came from variegated locations from all over the country...but those books were already here. Of course, since I was the one to buy the books from the bookstore, someone else in the class probably had to buy books from online, for I do not think that the bookstore had enough copies for everyone taking the class. It is impossible to know how my choices affected everyone in class...unless I was to ask everyone in class...maybe I will...

As you can tell, situations like this quickly can get complicated. Where are the books coming from? What kind of paper was used in them? Was the paper bleached? Which trees came down for these books? What are the tree management practices that are used from where the trees came down? And these are exactly the kinds of questions that can be avoided by modifying the choices we make. However, I chose to take a class, and therefore, I have the responsibility to entertain these questions, and deal meaningfully and concretely with them.

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