Blog and opinion
23 August 2018 • Gideon Wille
‘Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.’ You probably don’t even notice it anymore, but when I see this sentence at the bottom of an e-mail I feel exasperated. Why do people do that? Do the people who tell me that really think that I have the time to print all my e-mails? I have better things to do. Although, I may be an exception. Is our workload so high at THUAS because we are all constantly printing our e-mails? To be honest, I have not seen any queues at the printer because we are all printing our e-mails.
To provide a bit of context: as a child in the 70s I proudly wore my ‘Conserve the Wadden Sea’ t-shirt. When I come to a stoplight I promptly turn off my engine. I rip out the plastic window in envelopes before putting them in the paper recycling bin. And I argue with my wife if she throws the pile of advertising leaflets with plastic packaging in the paper bin. In a nutshell: I am aware of the eco-fascist in me.
I care about the environment, but I don’t want to be treated like an idiot. The ‘Please consider’ sentence is not only excessive, it is also pedantic and puerile: I am old and wise enough – me, the one who wore my ‘Conserve the Wadden Sea’ shirt at the age of nine – to know we only have one planet and that we need to take care of it. The e-mail do-gooders don’t have to tell me that.
Times have changed and every day you see people scrolling on their smartphones. We are more than used to reading mails on our screens. I therefore propose we scrap the ‘Please consider the environment’ sentence or replace it with the following instead: ‘Please consider I am not stupid; besides, I’m too busy to print e-mails.’
Guest blogger Gideon Wille is editor of H|Nieuws.