http://www.sina.com.cn 2008年01月08日 11:08
For the environment’s sake, don’t get divorced
By Andy Coghlan 刘颖 译
A rising tide of divorce is taking a huge toll on the planet, warns a groundbreaking analysis of the environmental impact of divorce.
The environmental cost of a marriage splitting occurs because couples and their families move into separate properties after divorce — meaning they collectively occupy more space, burn more energy, and consume more water than they did as a family unit.
“Divorced households are smaller than married households, but consume more land, water, and energy per person than married households,” says Jianguo Liu of Michigan State University in East Lansing, US, who carried out the 12-country analysis with colleague Eunice Yu.
In the US, for example, 627 billion gallons of water, the use of 38 million rooms, and 734 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity would have been saved in 2005 alone if no-one had got divorced.
In the same year, divorced households spent 46% more on electricity and 56% more on water per person than if they had stayed married. And following a split, US households consumed 42 to 61% more resources per person than while married.
And the problem is likely to get worse, warns Liu. Between 1970 and 2000, the proportion of households headed by divorcees soared from 5 to 15% of all US households. Divorces are also steadily increasing in China, note the authors, where divorce rates have traditionally been low.
“Divorce escalates consumption of increasingly limited resources,” the authors warn.
Liu urges governments to publicise the hitherto unanticipated environmental costs of divorce, and couples to consider the potential impacts of a divorce before going ahead.
He found that resource consumption shrank to what it had been originally if divorced couples remarry.