by Greg Krehbiel on 13 February 2013
Every once in a while I get an email with some text in the footer urging me to “consider the environment” before printing the email.
These things bug me for several reasons.
First, it’s often the footer on a junk email. If they’re so concerned about people printing too much, they should stop sending stuff for them to print! It’s like when somebody puts a flyer under the wiper on your car and it has a note: “please dispose of this responsibly.”
Second, I’m not convinced printing paper is bad for the environment. The young trees that are cut down to make paper use up more CO2 than older trees, and putting the paper in a landfill might actually be a net plus for the environment. I’m not saying that’s so, I’m just saying that at the level of analysis we’re dealing with here, it’s just as likely to be so.
Third, if we’re going to be “considering” things, what about the children who depend on their Dad’s paycheck from the paper mill, the copier repair place, the store that sells copier paper, and so on? What about the fact that sitting at your desk all day is incredibly bad for your health, so forcing yourself to walk to the printer every once in a while is a good idea? And reading off paper is better for your eyes.
Off the top of my head I can think of a lot more moral implications in the printing a piece of paper than “the environment,” and it’s just irritating for someone to imply that’s what I should be “considering.”
-- 2013-02-13 » Greg Krehbiel