Staying Married To Save The Environment!

A recent piece of research produced by Eunice Yu and Jianguo Liu from the Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, shows that divorce is detrimental to the environment.This research appears on the backdrop of rising divorce rates, (close to 50% of marriages and 75% of second marriages, end up in divorce in the US) and a majority single population in the US for the first time in history (51%).The failing of marriages and the fear of marriage happens to be impacting the environment. Isn’t that interesting? The increasing numbers of singles fearing the commitment of marriage and divorcees creates more households with lower number of people. Not hard to understand that more singles and fragmented families take up more living space, including parking, use of highways, along with higher usage of energy and water. The number of rooms per person in divorced households is 33% to 95% greater than in married households. A refrigerator, for example, uses roughly the same amount of energy whether it belongs to a family of four or one parent and a child. Yu and Liu estimate that in the United States (U.S.) in 2005, divorced households spent 46% and 56% more on electricity and water per person than married households. I knew it! I always said it was a good idea for couples to take showers together! 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. Not only that American spend an extra $3.6 billion annually on water as a result of the extra households created when people divorce. Wow!We are now coming to find out that this is not just a problem in the United States. It is happening around the world. The number of houses is increasing in England by something like 15 million over 10 years at current trends, while population is going nowhere. In other words we are seeing a housing boom, but not a population boom. Why? Divorce. You hear of a new one every week. Also, perpetual singleness, i.e. unwillingness to marry. And then even worse are married couples who live apart. For what reason? I am so sick of hearing people saying that their former husband or wife is a wonderful person, great parent and the classic one… “We are still friends.” Well, why in the world didn’t you keep the friendship going as a marriage? Did you have to subject innocent kids to a “friendly divorce”? Just mind-boggling!Even in places like China with more strict rules on divorce, personal commitments are not being kept and those policies are being ignored. Divorce rates are rising, leading to a profound assault on the environment because a married household actually uses resources more efficiently than a divorced household.So, here is my thought on this matter. Marriage is not just about personal responsibility and commitment to our children, community and the families of origin; it is also about our environment. Marriage as a life-time commitment makes sense. Maybe, it’s high time we recognize that breaking a life commitment while trying to be “good” in another area is inconsistent. Perhaps, saving a marriage and making love to the person you made a promise to for life is a good idea if for no other reason than keeping the cost of heating down, the consumption of energy and the selfish use of resources that belong to the whole planet and our children!*The original research can be found at:

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