Environmentalism Run Amok

An e-mail just turned up in my in-box. It was clearly selling something, and the text ended with the following thoughtful note:

Please consider the environment — do you really need to print this e-mail?

And what, you ask, was the e-mail selling?

Private jet travel.

Like the man said: please consider the environment.


Hilariously hypocritical. Like Al Gore grilling up a juicy steak before his recent interview with Rolling Stone Magazine on global warming. (Methane from cows being one of the leading green house gases)


Why not focus our attention on recycling rather than getting an individual to debate whether they should print one e-mail off?


It's not "Environmentalism Run Amok" -- it's just a poor title for this post.

It's more a case of incongruity and maybe hypocrisy that the sender of the email would request it not be printed, as if the non-printing of the email would offset the pollution caused by private jet travel.


I'm not a computer expert but I would love to know the environmental cost of sending an e-mail. Must factor in power for servers and computers, the manufacturing of computers, etc. I wonder if printing the e-mail would be more environmentally friendly than saving it on a hard drive for a really long time?


#1 - Not to mention his car, house, the many "summits" requiring hundreds of people to fly there to attend...


Boy that Al Gore sure is a hypocrite! I bet he uses electricity too.


It's so easy to call someone a hypocrite these days. Most of the actions we take in life (such as eating a steak or using electricity or flying) harm the environment, yet you cannot expect people (such as Al Gore) to live in a cave off of solar power for their whole life. It's so hard to determine these days what will or will not be good for the world. Flying to summits? Yes, that is good if overall it does something to help the environment.

Getting back to the original post, one point that doesn't get mentioned enough is the feeling of harming the environment versus actual harm done. For someone who is environmentally sensitive, each time you print out a paper maybe coded in this person's emotional account as an act of harming the environment. So over the course of a week, printing out paper FEELS like it does a lot of harm. Yet if you fly once every other month, this may not FEEL as bad as printing out a few extra sheets of paper. This would be a classic case of scope insensitivity. A few acts of very minor harm may feel worse than one act of great harm. To me, this seems to be one of the biggest undiscussed points in how we relate to environmental issues.



"(Methane from cows being one of the leading green house gases)"

ok, what IS the leading greenhouse gas of the day? because i've heard all sorts of things including concrete plants and cars?

Ralph J

Leave the cows alone. What is the largest producer of methane gas in the world today? Sorry for spoiling the day for you vegan Central Park conservationists, but it's plants and trees.

Ralph J

The leading greehouse gas of the day is, believe it or not, water vapor.


Environmentalism may be running amok, but is it zany to the max with bologna in its slacks? I think not.


MGF, why on earth would you keep an email like this for a long time? Most of us would hit the delete button pretty quickly (or the JunkMail button).


Post #7 makes a great point.

The only way for us to not harm the environment is for us not to be apart of the environment. At what point did environmentalism become restoring the environment to pre-industrial revolution? Environmentalism should be about educating people on how to balance their lives so it does unnecessary or irrevocable damage to the environment.

And off point:
And for all those who talk about the release of methane gas and CO2 emissions could you all learn a little more about the earth before claiming human emissions are harming things. The volcano in East Java that is about to explode will release more toxic gases in the atmosphere than humans can in years or decades. The thing people need to talk about are the chemicals that we release that interfere with the environment's ability to break them down or break down molecules in the environment that help protect it.

Tom Jones

The leading greenhouse gas of the day is, believe it or not, Barry Manilow.

ian jones

So we are being accused of reading an email on screen and then hitting the print button. For what reason would somebody do that? Is there any research on this?

Barry Manilow

Tom, that is spurious and you know it!


It's called "greenwash".

Do you care, or don't you? Cognitive dissonance? Bureaucracy?

It's quite depressing.

Mark Denison

Methane gas from cows does not contribute to Global Warming because the source of carbon is from plants which have extracted CO2 from the air. It will be released when the plant dies, burns or is eaten by animals and be recycled. Rising atmospheric carbon comes from oil, carbon and natural gas extracted from underground where it has been for eons. End of story.


Oh no! I am late again to the bash Al Gore party.

#1 Jason, that story about cows being the leading cause of green houses gases was so stupid it was hilarious.

You know what else is a leading cause of greenhouse gas: people who waste electricity turning on their computers to type similar BS as that cow story.


I agree with #7, hypocrisy means nothing anymore. To say "You're such a hypocrite" meant so much long ago, now it's thrown around like "thats so gay". The English is defying science and devolving.