Why Using the 'Consider the Environment' Email Signature Isn't the Best Idea and Better Ways to Help

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A Philosophy, Not an E-mail Signature

More and more I see this line at the end of corporate e-mails - “Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.”

Mind your own business.

Like everyone else sharing this great earth, I am not adverse to any effort that improves the quality of life on the planet and reduces the overall impact we have upon it. But just because you have suddenly jumped on a green bandwagon (that your recipient may have even help build decades earlier) stop peddling your opinion in every message with an automatic signature tag line that somehow eases your guilt.

There may be a corporate need to print information. Printing costs money. It is in the best interests of the business to reduce such costs. Companies should minimize the use of costly resources to what is needed. For example, companies can use several green printing techniques to cut costs. If there was no cost involved, I would make a rule to print each email with that line and snail mail a copy to the sender. Call it a ‘read receipt’.

I mean, why stop there? Why not express your religious feelings in random messages? How about “Consider Allah before eating while it is still daylight out during Ramadan.” Or the ever popular “Consider the fetus before agreeing to an abortion.”

If you feel so strongly about such a campaign, include that philosophy in your corporate green policy. Publish that policy on your company web site if you need to show your position on the use of printers in other companies. A philosophy of conservation should be infused into corporate culture without the need to tell people what they already know over and over again.

Ironically, after more than a decade in IT without a printer, I finally got one this year. Please consider the recipient before sending this e-mail.