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Please Consider The Environment Before Printing This Post

I just saw my first email, where in the bottom of the signature, it contained the following, in green italicized text:

P Please consider the environment before printing this email.

At first, I thought it was cool. But then, the more I thought about it, I thought it was silly. I mean, I understand that they're concerned about the environment. I am too. After all, I print double sided in "econo-mode", I take public transit, I use CFL bulbs, I recycle, etc. But, is this something that should be put in an email? Do you really want to tell the world how they should behave? The antagonist in me wanted to print the email, just because I could.

Then I thought about it further. What happens when the email does get printed, whether or not it should be? Isn't putting that string of text causing more ink to be used? Isn't that exactly what you don't want? Using more ink to print the email means consuming more resources, which is hard on the environment, isn't it? Now, don't get me started on signatures that are several lines long, complete with images, and the garbage "this email is proprietary" crap.

Now some people get offended by email signatures. Take this guy for example. He figures you might as well add your religious or political beliefs to the signature as well. Why stop there? Why not tell people what they should eat, drink, where they should shop, or who they should marry? After all, it's all the same, right? Personally, I have thicker skin than that. To each their own I guess.

Back when I created my very first email signature, I had an awesome signature. I think I'll bring that back. Not in my personal signature. No, that's too hard core to be changed out right now. Instead, I'll add it to my professional signature that I use within the company. I'll italicize it, complete with green text, and even add an image of a green leaf next to it. Something like this:

This message was created with 100% recycled electrons.

What do you think?

{ 14 } Comments

  1. Jeff | October 6, 2010 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

    I'd open an e-mail dialogue with you just to see that signature in action! Though I must say it seems to go against the principles of the ASCII Ribbon Campaign that you promote in your personal signature...

  2. ethana2 | October 7, 2010 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    This email is covered under the ECO public license. You may modify and redistribute it as much as you want provided neither it nor any derivative of it is physically rendered in any way.

  3. lo0m | October 7, 2010 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    I wouldn't change it. I like that original idea. It also begins with "Please consider .." - I would hardly take it as if you're telling me how i should behave.. It is a polite request to consider.. just to consider.. just my 2 cents

  4. Ademeion | October 7, 2010 at 3:39 am | Permalink

    I know a teacher, who prints every single e-mail she gets – about 30 e-mails per work day. She says she likes to read them that way. I couldn't say a word, when she told me this. I just wasn't able to speak, although I knew I should say something...

  5. Rick Harding | October 7, 2010 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    "Do you really want to tell the world how they should behave?"I'm sorry, but this is sounding just a little hollow after seeing the 4-part mini-series "Email Netiquette" go by on the planet.

  6. Joseph George | October 7, 2010 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    Email signatures are part of the email itself. If anything in your email (or signature) is not intended specifically for the recipient, it simply shouldn't be in there! Anything else is just noise ignored by all.

  7. Aaron | October 7, 2010 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    @Jeff- It's not a personal signature, it's a professional one. Yeah, I make a distinction between them. Also, I don't have any issues with HTML email. I used to, but then I realized that composing an email document is just that- creating a document. You should be allowed to do word processing.

    @ethan2- Heh. Perfect.

    @lo0m- Meh. To each their own. I really don't care one way or the other. However, I do find it funny that by adding that to your email signature, it requires more ink when the email is still printed. Kind of backfires, don't you think?

    @Ademeion- I too have a coworker who prints massive amounts of paper. If you were to look at his desk, you would see 4-5 inch piles of paper everywhere. It's a mess, and it's amazing how much paper he's consumed.

    @Rick Harding- If you want to put a link in your email signature that points to your personal blog about all the religious, political and behavioral commentary, I'm game with that. After all, that's what blogs are for.

    @Joseph George- You could call signatures noise in general. Really, who cares?

  8. CraigM | October 7, 2010 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    I'd recommend the following disclaimer, should one arise:

    "You're going to do whatever you want with this e-mail, so I explicitly give you permission to do with it whatever you want. Print it out, fold it up in a paper airplane, set it to music and do an interpretive dance. I don't care. Quite frankly, the effort to craft the e-mail in the first place isn't worth the effort of telling you not to print it, not to pass it along, and not to use it for some nefarious purpose should I gain political office at some later date. So, knock yourself out. Print each letter out in giant foam letters, and dive right in, you magnificent rebellious bastard you. Because you've truly earned it."

  9. George | October 7, 2010 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Several years ago I signed people's "Guest Book" with "this guest book signed with 85% post-consumer electrons."

  10. Paul | October 7, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    I'd always assumed that the statement existed on corporate emails for two reasons:

    1) To cut down on paper use inside the office from people printing out internal emails, thus reducing costs.
    2) To make the company look good to external people so they think favourably on it.

    I'd expect those people having such a signature for genuine environmental concerns would be in a minority.

  11. lol | October 17, 2010 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Testing if can detect chrome mini on android

  12. Jj | October 23, 2010 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    Biggest issue about the signature is the attached image for leaf that will be forwarded and forwarded as extra attachments just to use a picture on the signature.That is orders of magnitude more annoying.

  13. Aaron | October 23, 2010 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Not an issue for me. It's exaggerated here, but in reality, there are more bytes in the HTML that composes the signature itself than there are bytes in the actual image. You should be more annoyed that I'm composing an HTML email than you are an image that orders of magnitude smaller than the email.

  14. Matt Spiers | January 7, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    I think you are misinterpreting this signature entirely. I'm an IT security consultant and primarily work with federal clients. This signature isn't referring to the "green" environment at all. Rather, it's relaying the message that, "this email may contain PII or other sensitive information, please be aware of this when you make a hard copy or send it to a public printer where you may forget to go pick it up."

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