Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Go green... get married!

OK, so how the two concepts relate may not obvious at first glance but is it true? The thought just popped up in my mind and I felt it was worth exploring. Is married life (whether religious, civil or common law; after all I am an all-inclusive kind of guy) better for the environment? In order to assess this, I think it's necessary to find a common thread to allow comparison. I believe this can be achieved by looking at the ecological footprint of a normal day for a married man, say George and a single man, say Tony.

The Morning

George's alarm clock plays a gentle music at around 6:30. He quickly wakes up, gives his wife a kiss, jumps out of bed, has a short shower and gets dressed. He then has a well balanced breakfast (recycling all the packaging), brushes his teeth, prepares his and his wife's lunch and gets ready to leave for work.

Tony's alarm clock blasts out a buzzing sound at 7:15 but Tony, having stayed up late the night before, hits the snooze button a few times before finally deciding to get up. When he does, he notices the woman in his bed. After trying to retrace his actions of the night before, he vaguely remembers being in a bar and talking to a woman that looked a bit like Mario Lemieux with a moustache. Looking again at the woman in his bed, he figures out that he did indeed score with the help of the magnificent 66 look alike. He proceeds to wake up "Mario" (Tony can't recall her name) and hands her 20$ for the cab fare. After ejecting her from the house, Tony gets into the shower. To get rid of the "rye and coke" fumes, he makes sure the shower is really hot and stays in it for a hell of a long time. After the shower, Tony gets dressed, reusing dirty clothes as he hasn't had time to go to the dry cleaner to pick up his stuff (Tony hates doing the laundry). Being late, he runs out of the house without having breakfast.

Outcome: With the snoozing, long hot shower, the taxi, and the overuse of dry cleaning, Tony's morning is definitely having a greater negative impact on the environment.

The Work day

George takes the bus to work as he feels it gives him time to relax before starting his work day (he usually reads discarded day old papers he finds at the bus stop because, as he says, "the world can't have changed that much in a day"). When he arrives, George has a coffee in his weekly cleaned personal cup. His day is mostly spent working on his computer or participating in meetings (via phone conference, if possible). At lunch, he and a couple of friends go out for a walk. When the day is over, he returns home on the express bus.

Tony jumps into his Hummer H1 (similar in size and color to George's bus) and drives like a maniac to make up for lost time. On his way to work , Tony stops by the coffee shop drive-through to pick up a "full fat, full foam latte with 4 sugars" in a doubled Styrofoam cup , and a "mayo on both sides bacon and egg English muffin" (nothing better after a late night!). Once at work, Tony parks his H1 diagonally, taking up two spots (don't want people to scratch his baby). During the day, Tony has at least another 4 or 5 coffees, all in Styrofoam cups. At lunch time, he takes his secretary for a ride in his H1 and, upon reaching his "secret place", gets down and dirty, keeping the motor running (Tony needs the air conditioning and the electric seats to be at his best...). At the end of the day, Tony drives home stopping at the corner store for a bag of chips and a pack of cigarettes.

Outcome: Because of the Hummer, the smoking and the Styrofoam cups, Tony, again, has a much greater impact on the environment.

The Evening

Once home, George and his wife prepare a light dinner and chat about the day's events. After helping his wife with the dishes (using bio soap), George spends some time sorting out his stamp collection. Later on, he and his wife watch a bit of television before heading to bed.

Once home, Tony turns on every light in the house (he hates it when its dark) and eats his chips while watching reruns of WKRP in Cincinnati (he can't get enough of Jennifer). He then takes a power snooze, after which he jumps into the shower to get ready for a night out. Taking his Hummer, he heads for his favorite bar, the Warm and Fuzzy. Although known as a meat market and cougar hangout, Tony enjoys the atmosphere and the "rye and cokes". There, he hits the dance floor and sets his sight on a woman (usually a different one every night, although he has been around the patch once or twice). After a few drinks and some pick up lines (his speciality), he returns home with his "catch of the day".

Outcome: Here again, there is still a noticeable difference between Tony's and George's footprints. The additional shower, the use of the H1, not to mention the broken heart, all impact the environment.

All in all, it is obvious that George's life, although monotonous and lacking sparkle, is a lot greener than Tony's. I feel it's safe to conclude that married life, regardless of all its failings, is much better for the environment. Greenpeace should pay attention to this by initiate a new campaign promoting that young people should get married early and remain married in order to be more ecologically friendly. "Go green... get married" would make a catchy phrase. Combine it with a smart jingle and you would have a winner!

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