Study: Marriage is Good for the Planet
by Devon Williams, associate editor
God’s design for family helps the environment.
A new study out of Michigan State University shows that the growing divorce rate is hurting more than just the families and children — it's also bad for the Earth.
By examining data from 12 countries, Jiangua “Jack” Liu, senior author of the study, and his associate Eunice Yu, found that married households are more efficient with water, energy and land use. On the other hand, divorced couples require an extra 38 million rooms and spend 46 percent more per capita on electricity and 56 percent more on water than married couples.
Liu also found that if divorced households had combined to have the same average household size as married households, there could have been a million fewer households using energy and water.
“People have been talking about how to protect the environment and combat climate change, but divorce is an overlooked factor that needs to be considered,” Liu said in the online version of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The study reports that, while the proportion of divorced households has rapidly increased around the globe, some countries have implemented plans to combat the problem and help the environment at the same time. Couples who want to get divorced in one Indonesian district must donate 25 tree seedlings, South Africa’s Independent Online reported.
Jenny Tyree, associate marriage analyst for Focus on the Family Action, said marriage may be the most cost-efficient environmental plan available.
“The results of this study support the benefits of marriage, not just for families, but for our environment,” she said. “It makes sense that more households — as a result of family breakdown — would use more resources. We're pleased to see that God's design for family is consistent with good environmental stewardship.”