Divorce pains the planet

The family that stays together keeps its carbon footprint low.

As if the burden of divorce weren't bad enough, people with failed marriages can be blamed for global warming, according to a study by Michigan State University.

Divorced couples use up more space in their respective homes, which amounts to to 38 million more rooms worldwide to light, heat and cool, noted the report.

And people who divorced used 73 billion kilowatt-hours more of electricity and 627 billion gallons of water than they would otherwise in 2005.

Dissolving a marriage also means doubling possessions, from the lowly can opener to the SUV. The report, however, did not estimate how many more natural resources the children of shared-custody parents consume by getting birthday and holiday gifts twice.

Nor did it count the greenhouse gases spent to shuttle kids between their pair of energy-hogging households. (Tip for carbon offsetting services: the domain name OffsetMyDivorce.com is available.).

The research suggests that singletons who shack up with someone again can undo the ecological damage. Although it might be inferred that "living in sin" is also eco-friendly, the findings did not necessarily endorse the practice of unmarried couples living together.

Rates of divorce are rising around the world, while dropping in North America along with those of marriage, according to the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University.

Divorce ends 46 percent of marriages in the United States, the seventh highest rate in the world, according to Divorce Magazine. The top world record is held by Sweden, where 55 percent of marriages end by divorce. On the other end is Guatemala, with a mere .13 percent divorce rate.

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and funded partly by the National Institutes of Health.

(via New Scientist)

 

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