Sunday, October 2, 2011

Digital (Dustin Harris) vs. Print (Hannah Weissmann)

Each issue has its upsides and downsides to the argument of going digital vs. staying with print. In Dustin’s case the positive changes would be that the environment would be improved greatly if we were to quit cutting trees for books. Deforestation would be reduced as well as other wildlife animals being able to keep their homes. However, the ultimate change for going digital will not help everybody because there are still many people in the world who cannot afford a computer, let alone internet service. If everything were to go digital it would be putting most of the world in a sort of secluded club or group which would not benefit those who cannot afford it. The only real upside to going digital is safety for the environment (which is a big deal) but it won’t affect everyone positively.

In Hannah’s case her main issue was the fact that humans would lose the feel and magic of flipping through a book. In her explanation there are several upsides, books will have more of a use if we continue to use them, talented writers won’t be pirated for their work (as easily) and even though she did not bring this up in her argument people’s eyes won’t be damaged as easily. It has been proven that looking at a bright computer screen for long periods of time affects eyesight poorly, which won’t necessarily happen with books (unless you read in the dark). However, in going with Hannah’s side we also have to consider the fact that deforestation will continue to be a problem to the world overall. However, this would mean that more people can enjoy the magic of books just like it was before the computer era began.

Although it is difficult to side with either I think that I would have to agree with Dustin’s case the best. The fact that the environment will be saved is enough to give it a shot and because I believe that our mutual goal as a species is to advance into the future and not to stay held back with certain limits (although this argument is a really, really close call).



  1. Are we so certain digital readers are great for the environment though? Books are at the very least biodegradable, and composed of a renewable resource. With the constant tech upgrades which rule the present age, and likely will continue into the future what is going to happen to all the outmoded kindles, Ipads and android tablets? Although the Ipad may be marketed as recyclable in practice they will go straight to landfill I should think. And what of the rare earth metals needed to manufacture smart electronics? There is not an inexhaustible supply of these materials. It is possible print is greener than we've been told.

  2. As a response to Artemisia Kelleher,

    Although it is true that there is not an infinite source of materials for digital items such as laptops or iPads, it would still have a better impact than print. While one book can only contain a set amount of information (whether it is a story or something more useful like a dictionary), the choices are still very limited while as with digital, there is almost an infinite amount of knowledege that can be found within seconds with the will of a single finger. Also with the outdated versions, those materials do not have to become useless. Those older versions could be given as hand me downs or used for battered people who really need it. It's what many do with their old cell phones. Many of them are donated to certain shelters for women/children and are programmed to call 911 automatically in case of an emergency. The same sort of use can be used for newer, digital model, they don't have to become scrap materials because they are outdated, these materials can still be used for something, whether its the chips or wires or metal plating, it will definitely serve a purpose on some level.