Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Save the Planet, Stay Married

Anybody who has ever spent more than a week on campus at BYU has been inundated with quick facts about how marriage is good for people, such as the well documented correlation between marriage and happiness (as measured by surveys). This, however, is a new fun fact to me: marriage is good for the environment.

A study by researchers at Michigan State University has shown that divorce is causing a surprisingly large negative impact on the environment. In 2006, divorce caused the US to use 73 billion kilowatt hours of electricity and almost half a trillion gallons of water more than if everyone had stayed together. This increased impact is caused by the fact that divorce causes a decrease in the average household size. Larger households are more energy efficient because it takes less than five times the energy to heat a house with five occupants than it does to heat a house with one occupant. The same scaling applies to water use and average use of housing space. For example, the study reports that the average number of rooms per person in a divorced household went up by 33% to 95% compared to a married household, causing more housing to be built.

So to those of you out there considering divorce, I urge you to stay together - for the environmental benefits.


  1. As someone once said, "Like everything else, the relationship between a man and a woman has a socioeconomic base....Such a relationship can have positive social values....I personally am in favour of such a socioeconomic relationship."

  2. How do polygamists effect the planet?

    Maybe it's like a min-max calculus problem. The max benefit is to married to one spouse, ie, the derivative of of plant saving vs. spouse # at spouse # = 1 is zero.


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