Hey, You Condescending Jerk, No One Prints Emails Anyway

Apologies, it’s time for a weekend rant. I know it’s all the rage right now to be green. but is it really necessary to put a line at the bottom of every email telling me to consider the environment and not to print it?

It was fine when just a few people did it last year (it was a ding against their startup, but didn’t necessarily kill a story), but now a significant percentage of emails coming in every day have some variation of the “do not print this email” message. Not everyone does it, just the condescending holier-than-thou types. But it happens often enough to have become a serious annoyance. For background on the “movement,” see this article.

You know what? I don’t need you to tell me that I need to be a good Earth citizen. I don’t print emails (no one does, you idiots), but if someone wants to I have no problem with it. Maybe they want to print out a map or something. I don’t think that makes them a bad person.

The same people who insist on wearing colored rubber bracelets to show their support for the cause du jour put this crap at the bottom of emails. My suspicion is that they don’t particularly care about the issue, they just want credit from everyone that they are a caring, thoughtful human being.

This isn’t the way to show support for the planet. Last week at Davos, Earth defender Al Gore himself made it clear that personal choice decisions at the individual level have little to do with helping the environment. What matters is that our governments make the right policies and hold us, particularly corporations, accountable. That isn’t happening yet. If you really want to change the world, start talking to your elected representatives. Or march on Washington.

Or even better, stop eating meat. Raising livestock causes more greenhouse gasses in the U.S. than all transportation combined (and, I bet, all email printing combined). So put down that hamburger and get out of my inbox.

Update: hah. I forgot we have a “Print Posts” button below every post, sponsored by HP. I encourage you to use it. And don’t forget Google Paper, Google’s April Fools joke, where “you can request a physical copy of any email with the click of a button, and Google will deliver paper printouts to you in 2-4 days via the mail.”