Sunday, June 27, 2010

Consider the Environment

You probably know me as your friendly tree-hugging hippie who just can't shut up about reducing, reusing, recycling, cutting emissions, and conserving energy. And for good reason—I am more than happy to talk about the ridiculous lengths to which we can go to save the earth.

For example, take a look at my headphones. They're not the only ones I've got, but I keep using them because I just can't stop!

my salvaged headphones

These headphones are a chintzy piece of junk that I think I got free when I bought a tape recorder—if that tells you anything about how old they are. When the foam pads wore out and fell off, I glued on replacement bits of foam that I repurposed from some cell phone packaging.

Whenever someone visits and looks at my headphones, they immediately tell me I need a new pair. They even offer to give me a new pair! But I tell them, no, these ones are still working and it would be wasteful to throw them away!

But I didn't come here today to talk about my headphones. (Even though I do want to remind you that when your headphones wear out to the point where they can't be saved even with new foam padding, you should not throw them out, but take them to an electronics recycling dropoff, such as at Best Buy.)

No, today I came here to talk about an environmental trend that I think is stupid!

Have you ever gotten an email, and down at the bottom, it had this slogan, "Consider the environment before printing this email?" It probably even had a cute webdings picture of a stream meandering through some trees!

That's stupid! Email works like this: You read it, you delete it. How many people in this world actually print their emails? Do you? Do you keep a paper file of every message you ever got? Perhaps even keep a duplicate file, organized by sender address, for cross-reference purposes? No one does that! Sane people will only print an email if it's absolutely necessary—like, because it has driving directions on it or something. And sane people do not like to have their intelligence insulted by insipid reminders to consider the environment before doing something that's absolutely necessary.

So, if you ever receive an email that tells you to consider the environment before printing it, go ahead and laugh! I, the tree-huggingest hippie around, give you leave to do so. And if, perchance, you are one of those people who has that slogan in your signature, consider your audience instead. Don't you think the people you email have enough sense to decide for themselves when to hit print? And if you were possibly planning on printing an email...well...consider the environment, and print on the backside of another sheet.