You meet the love of your life, you marry them – you move into one house. That’s one house to heat, and one house to supply potable water to – see where I’m going here?
A statistical remedy: Fall back in love. Cohabitation means less urban sprawl and softens the environmental hit.
Some stats from the paper’s abstract:
- In 12 chosen countries, if every divorced individual remarried, there would be over 7 million fewer households.
- The number of rooms per person is 33-95% higher in divorced households than married households
- In the US, divorced households use 42-61% more resources than their (un)happily married counterparts
- In the US , 73 billion KWh of electricity would have been saved in 2005 had every divorced person remarried, as well as 627 billion gallons of freshwater
Yea, I’ll say it – Bullshit. What do you think? It does make some sense – sense that no one bothered to look into until now – but really, its addressing a much older and larger problem: do we live alone or together?
Ok, time for back-of-the-envelope mathematics. Assuming 100% of the energy required for these households is from coal (worse case scenario), and assuming 207 lb C are released for every 15 million Btu of energy (convert BTu to KWh here; thus turns into ~2.75e-8 kg C per KWh), then those 73 billion KWh (sounds big doesn’t it) translates into ~2 tonnes carbon per year.
This a veritable drop in the US anthropogenic carbon emissions bucket of ~2 million tonnes C per year. What about water use? Well, 627 billion US gallons converts to the equivalent of ~0.5% of the total volume of Lake Erie.
Okay, the author’s don’t claim Divorce is causing climate change, but rather, “The results suggest that mitigating the impacts of resource-inefficient lifestyles such as divorce helps to achieve global environmental sustainability”
Sure, I’ll give them that.