Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Divorce Hurts the Planet

National Catholic Register reports that "Catholic Teaching on marriage good for environment":
EAST LANSING, Mich. — Want to save the planet from global warming? Then try saving your marriage.

That’s the message of Jianguo Liu, a distinguished professor of ecology and the Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability at Michigan State University.

Liu’s damning analysis of the heavy negative effects divorces have on the environment was published in early December in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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That’s because a divorce usually results in one household becoming two, Liu explained. Liu said he began the research after learning that the number of households has been increasing globally in recent decades at a far greater rate than population growth.

“If you have two parents and five children in a room, they’re all getting the same benefit from one light bulb, one TV, the heating system in the house,” Liu said. “When a divorce occurs, at least two of all those things are needed for the same people.”

Additionally, Liu said, a divorce often results in parents driving children great distances back and forth in order that they can visit both households. He said divorced families are likely to have more cars than when they lived as one.

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At least one leading Catholic advocate of traditional marriage, however, isn’t impressed by Liu’s findings. Maggie Gallagher, president of the Washington-based Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, agreed that divorce causes disorder and wreaks havoc in society.

But she’s not “a big fan of that study,” she said.

“The logic of the study suggests that divorced fathers would help the environment by abandoning their children, rather than driving across town to see them,” she said. “It would suggest that unmarried couples are better to live together rather than to date and maintain separate households. To endorse this study I’d have to endorse the underlying assumption that we should define the problem of global warming as anything that increases the number of people or houses on the planet.”

Gallagher said an ideological belief that more human activity warms the planet is the reason China wants environmental energy credits as a reward for its one-child-only policy.


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