Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

tree on a hill
'driveby tree' by Lorrie McClanahan (Flickr)

Jason Kottke notes that some people are including the line “Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail” (or some variation) in their e-mail signatures.  Looking back, I found a couple e-mails sent to me that have that signature. How about this: trees are a renewable resource — my time isn’t.  If you treat your e-mails to me as an opportunity to berate me with holier-than-thou ecocentrism, don’t be surprised if I pay you as much attention as I would a street preacher forecasting humanity’s imminent doom.


  1. Sar says

    But you didn’t even notice until someone told you about it. I fail to see how it’s wasting your time until you had to complain about it. Also, who prints emails?

  2. says

    Yeah, this is more of a shot across the bow, in case people were thinking of jumping on board. I certainly don’t print e-mails, but some people do. You know, the ones who get prints of all their digital photos.

  3. Pete says

    Jason, I hate those preachers as much as anyone but you and them have a choice as to whether or not you kneel down and pray, but you do not have the choice to breath and drink, but hey, maybe some of would be better off if people like you did not! :)

  4. says

    Well, Pete, maybe some people would be better off if holier-than-thou environmentalists considered the consequences of what they advocate.

    Like anyone who got malaria because of a DDT ban. Or anyone kept poor because of increasing restrictions on trade and industry.

  5. Doug says

    How many trees are we planting vs. forests we’re destroying?
    Not enough for homo sapiens to breathe safely and animals to thrive.
    You’re not quite getting the big picture my friends.

    There is eminent doom only if people keep ignoring the facts and “good people do nothing”. It’s not holier-than-thou: don’t take it so personal, why so defensive?. The advocates are looking out for everyone and giving a voice to that which does not have a voice.

    DDT is a toxin. Surely science could have come up with something less poisonous (another “quick-fix)solution to every living creature? Comparing apples with pears is not “fruitful”!

  6. says

    Well, this just got too big for me to read on the screen, I am going print it so I can read it and formulate a response to post it here!

    By the way. ops, let me abbreviate it so it takes less paper when I print it!

    BTW, did you guys notice the new service Google is providing for all those echo-advocates!

    Check it out!

  7. Tammy says

    That’s a great line – I’ll be plagiarizing it in my personal emails for sure:
    trees are a renewable resource — my time isn’t

  8. Tammy says

    by the way – I don’t think having a one-liner that advocates personal responsibility is hardly a time waster, but I get the point…

  9. Will says

    Unfortunately, like with DDT and malaria, environmentalists typically end up doing more harm than good. Paper comes from renewable forests.

    Less paper used => less forests

  10. JJ says

    You all think way too much of your selves if you believe your time is so valuable. If you slow down and appreciate nature, you may just find time can not be quantified in terms of value. More Type A personalities => less good in the world.

  11. says

    So when you are in a hurry, slow down!!!

    If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hear it fall, can we still print on it?

    Green is the new gold!!!

    The more green ==> Less paper

  12. Rod says


    If your time is so valuable, how can it be that you waste it complaining about this green message.

    Another question: How long does it take to read the line: “Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail” ?


  13. says

    If your time is so valuable, how can it be that you waste it complaining about this green message.

    It was annoying me. It’s almost always worth my time to get something off my chest that is annoying me.

  14. Ed says

    And that’s why that line is at the bottom of the mail. It is annoying people that a lot of mails are printed out (in an office surrounding).

  15. Tom says

    I added this to the bottom of my emails:

    “Please consider my nerves before reminding me on the half-hour that you are concerned about paper waste while you sit smugly at your energy sucking PC, in your air-conditioned building in your child-labored produced clothes. Have a great day.”

  16. Naira says

    I think it is sad to see bunch of people obessed about how important they are and have no time to consider enviroment.
    Even though paper is made from renewable forests – still having someone remind you about nature and enviroment might make you think about other things which can be good for enviroment (like saving energey and water which is involved in paper making process).
    we should start somewhere.

  17. says

    Ha ha, you should try taking your message to these people – – I think they have what I’d call a polar opposite opinion to yours!

    Now, I’ve just got to go and change my toner cartridge because I’m slowly printing and indexing every page on the internet for future reference.

    Someone said the internet is constantly changing, so now I have to print even quicker to keep up.