Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Environmental Benefits of Family Values

The family values crowd may conclude that there's something to this environmental stuff after all. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science concludes that married households are more environmentally efficient than divorced households. First, divorce mean more households:
We found that average household size (number of people in a household) in divorced households (households with divorced heads) was 27–41% smaller than married households (households with married heads) in 12 countries across the world around the year 2000 (between 1998 and 2002). If divorced households had combined to have the same average household size as married households, there could have been 7.4 million fewer households in these countries.
Further, divorced households are less energy efficient:
In the United States (U.S.) in 2005, divorced households spent 46% and 56% more on electricity and water per person than married households. Divorced households in the U.S. could have saved more than 38 million rooms, 73 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, and 627 billion gallons of water in 2005 alone if their resource-use efficiency had been comparable to married households.
Furthermore, U.S. households that experienced divorce used 42–61% more resources per person than before their dissolution.
If you're divorced and want to reduce your environmental impact, try a second marriage:

Remarriage of divorced household heads increased household size and reduced resource use to levels similar to those of married households. The results suggest that mitigating the impacts of resource-inefficient lifestyles such as divorce helps to achieve global environmental sustainability and saves money for households.
Does Mother Nature really care if you acquire a new mother in law? According to the L. A. Times, the study's lead author points out that living together in any circumstances can produce the same environmental benefits:

"Turning on the light uses the same energy whether there are two people or four people in the room," said lead author Jianguo Liu, an ecologist at Michigan State University.
The extra electricity generation spews more carbon dioxide into the air, exacerbating global warming.
"If you don't want to get remarried, maybe move in with somebody you like," said Liu, who just celebrated his 20th wedding anniversary.
Other potential solutions include polygamy, communal living or roommates.
"I'm just a scientist trying to present the facts," Liu said. "I'm not promoting one way or another."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess only half of a divorced family would have the benefit of a dad ( complete with invisible thermostat antennae ) who is always alert to temperature changes so he can make sure it stays on the low side.

That, and who else would go around religiously turning off lights other than Dad?

At least, that's how it was when I was growing up.

10:58 PM, December 05, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is great. How do you find this stuff?

Of course one could go on ad infinitum with categories that are either doubled or split in half...and pinpoint the gains or losses such common sense applications would contribute to global warming.

My favorite is that with twenty-some candidates,running for presidency, we should require them to ride the same bus, attend the same functions, debate each other at each function, all to save petrol and cut down on the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere....

Having thought of this, I am closing with this image; after a grueling day, of Giuliani's balding head on Hillary's shoulder, his glasses cocked sideways........

1:06 AM, December 06, 2007  

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