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.


I hear Al Gore inhales oxygen, and guess what he exhales: carbon dioxide!

What a hypocrite...

Barry Manilow

Listen. Al Gore is a hypocrite. He lives in a wasteful palace of opulence. No one needs a house that big. If you care about the environment so much, get a nice three-bedroom home and use all the electricity you want.


You are behind the times! Way back in June, the great Martin Lukes carefully explained the detriments (of printing your email) in the Financial Times.


Point apart...but just for a while lets forget Al Gore and concentrate on cars we use...we see these adverts for Hybrid cars...I wonder if they really save any fuels because of the added weight of the power generating equipment in addition to the engine...I did a rough comparison with a car like the VOLKSWAGEN L3 Lupo..and it appeared really fuel efficient. I find that motor companies are promoting BIGGER cars; and talk less about smaller fuel efficient cars, do even less to spread awareness about such small cars - that is hypocracy and not our Al Gore.


Dear #7 (Zoe):
You just made my day. You are awesome.
Ah, the days of actually funny non-anime-ripoff cartoons...


Can't really blame the man if he makes a living off jet travel. But if he can make up for it by saving some trees, why not? Would be too much to demand someone to switch occupations solely for the sake of the environment, wouldn't it?


the cast of Funky Winkerbean has aged 10 years and nothing is going to bring Lisa back.
So let the planet die in raging floods and stifling humidity. I don't care.


Why does the headline need to have anything to do with the product?



Al Gore's actions are entirely consistent.

One less cow means less emissions.

"Save the planet, kill a cow". Should I copy write this?


I say let's eat cows, fart and burn fossil fuels. As soon as we all realize the planet is going to blow up someday the better.
Do greenhouse gases exist on Mars? Seriously? Because last I heard that planet was heating up faster than Earth. Maybe we're doing something wrong.

Arnav Sur

Your book may not have dealt with economics directly but is a perfect example of an economists approach. The book doesn't deal with traditional economics but uses the concepts in real life. The example of nylon stockings and silk stockings is basic theory of demand, the example of real estate agents shows the role incentives play in motivating the workforce. The abortion-crime relation can be linked to economic development and the role of the government.
Freakonomics brought econ to the main stream and broke many stereotypes.


N 14, it's actually Glenn Beck.


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?