Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Loving Green! Or at least marrying green....

Talk about unintended consequences! The National Academy of Sciences just released a report in their latest proceedings that found out that divorced people consume 46% more electricity than married people. The LA Times has the story about the study. The obvious thing is that if you have a light bulb on and there are two people in the room, obviously the per capita electricity use is lower. The same could be said for density in cities vs. the suburbs. Aside from being a duh piece of research, it got me thinking about are there other reasons for the increased energy use. It also got me thinking that fewer and fewer people are getting married these days. Much to my mother's consternation I'm one of them.

So does loneliness foster energy use. Of my single friends, I do have to say that they do watch more TV than most people I know. TVs are incredibly energy drains, especially the mega large tube TVs of the past. (If that's not a plug to get a new flatscreen, I don't know what is). I know that many of my single friends tend to bounce around a lot more, I know I do. That extra consumption of fuel doesn't do wonders to the carbon footprint? I know my single friends spend a lot more time on their computers. Heck I do, of course maybe spending all that time in front of the computer is why they are single. Maybe I should finish up this post and get out.

The article does mention one thing that is non-obvious is that it's not so much the state of marriage that is good, but it's that you co-habit a space and amortize your carbon consumption over multiple people. Perhaps revisiting shared housing, is a way to turn the balance back to single people in the carbon calculation. I did enjoy sharing a house during the dot-com bust, it felt a lot like college with cool conversations, impromptu dinners.

Oh well, carbon free may mean spending more time on Yahoo Personals. Got to run.


At 9:46 AM , Blogger Cindy said...

Too funny. I see it coming - save the environment, get married. Anyway, did I as a tax paper pay for that study?

While single-hood may lead to more energy consumption, marriage is not exact an environment-saving institution. For one, kids come after marriage. All of a sudden 4 people are consuming instead of 2. Diapers, 8x the laundry, not to mention thousands of pieces of paper for "art projects". Believe me, I have personal experience. Some families upgrade to minivans and SUVs (personally I think it is completely unnecessary, but lots of families do it). I will say one aspect of marriage (with kids) that is potentially greener is the food. Because we are pretty much stuck at home for meals, we end up spend more time shopping at the local farmer's market and cooking home-made meals rather than going out.

Just my humble opinion.


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