Please Print This Email!

wood_for_trees-520By George Noga


When dining at fine restaurants it is customary for the Chef de Cuisine to offer guests an amuse bouche, literally an amusement for the mouth.

To continue with this metaphor, our readers may consider this uber-short offering an amuse yeux, or an amusement for the eyes, from your Editor-in-Chief.

For years I bristled each time I received an email with a footnote containing the familiar chestnut admonishing readers not to print. Finally I got mad as hell and decided to exact sweet revenge from the eco storm troopers. Simply ignoring their self-righteous greenwashing was not satisfying enough; I wanted more – much more. If you feel the way I did, here is ammunition for you.

“Simply ignoring their self-righteous greenwashing was
not satisfying enough; I wanted much more.”

Now, every time I receive an offending email, I reply using the following footnotes of my own. The first footnote is for personal emails while the second is for business emails.

Footnote Used for Personal (non business) Emails

Please feel free to print this email along with all attachments. Trees are a farmed product grown expressly for paper. It makes no more sense to conserve paper to save trees than it makes sense to save cloth to conserve cotton. Paper is natural, organic, biodegradable, renewable and sustainable. Working forests employ millions of Americans and help the environment by providing clean air and water, wildlife habitat and carbon storage. There are more trees planted commercially each year (by a vast margin) than are consumed; there are more trees than 100 years ago. Failure to print when desired hastens the conversion of forests to strip malls and parking lots. Please go ahead print and take satisfaction in knowing you are doing your part to help the environment and to save forests.

Footnote Used for Business Emails

Your company’s email contained a footnote admonishing me not to print it for the ersatz purpose of protecting the environment. By doing this you gratuitously injected politics into what should be purely a business relationship. Surely, you would not deign to tell me how to vote; therefore, why do you assume it is acceptable to push other political views? Politicizing a commercial relationship is bad business. First, if your company doesn’t believe this is a divisive political issue, then it is ignorant. Second, this is rank greenwashing; moreover, you are wrong that conserving trees somehow helps the environment; see the final paragraph for enlightenment. Third, even if I agreed with your politics, I would deeply resent your presumptive and unwarranted intrusion into my personal life. Fourth, inasmuch as I disagree with your politics, I will not do business with your company and hereby demand you remove my name from all lists. You are wrong for four reasons. Injecting politics into business always is a losing proposition. Do your shareholders know about this? Would they approve? Note: For the second paragraph, I simply add the personal footnote sans the first sentence.

Now It’s Your Turn to Use the Footnotes; It is Incredibly Easy

By all means, please feel free to copy or to modify my footnotes and begin using them. Can you imagine the consternation we could cause greenwashers if all of us used the footnotes? It is not necessary to retype the footnotes each time. All that’s required are 3 simple steps once you have saved the footnotes on two separate Word documents; this need be done only once. First, each time you want to insert a footnote, click on “Insert” on the menu bar. Second, click on “Signature”. Third, click on the file name. The bemused reactions you get from friends and businesses; priceless!

Oh yes – please print this email!

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