Divorce and climate change

There’s some interesting anecdotal evidence, and some reasonable studies that link divorce with social problems, developmental problems and property prices.

The argument on house prices goes that where traditionally couples would have stayed together in “wedded bliss” in the marital home – ie existed as one household – now they are splitting into two households. So the number of “households” has increased dramatically since quick and easy divorces came into being.

According to the ABS Census data on “Living Arrangements” – 9.6% of the population account for 24% of households – those are single person households.

I’m not really a fan of Family First. But I am a fan of families – and think they’re probably the most important “unit” in our society. Steve Fielding from Family First has just done the unthinkable. Linked climate change with divorce.

“We understand that there is a social problem (with divorce), but now we’re seeing there is also environmental impact as well on the footprint,” he said.

“Mitigating the impacts of resource-inefficient lifestyles such as divorce helps to achieve global environmental sustainability and saves money.”

Go get em Steve. So, the left blogotariat (like the commentariat but in blog form) have predictably panned him. The central pillar of the left’s argument is this:

“Fielding thinks that divorce is bad because the Church thinks divorce is bad, but most Australians accept it as a necessary part of life, so Fielding tries to link divorce to something that most Australians do think is bad”

The logic of that statement seems to be that Fielding is wrong that divorce is bad because most people think it’s “necessary” which seems to equate to “good” – with good being the binary, and logical, opposite to bad.

My question, particularly to my left leaning non-Christian friends, is does anybody actually think divorce is a good thing?

It’s not like anyone from the Christian side of things is arguing that it should be illegal – divorce is included in the OT laws in the bible and spoken about by Jesus – essentially as a necessary evil.

I don’t think anyone argues that – I would have thought someone suggesting that we look at ways to lower the rate of divorce as a way to lead more carbon friendly lives would have the backing of the left. It seems like a nice policy solution to an emerging cultural, environmental and economical issue.

It’s particularly an issue because while households are shrinking in number of people they’re growing in number and size.

The 2006 Census Housing Overview says:

Despite the decrease in average household size in Australia discussed earlier, changing lifestyle preferences and greater wealth have resulted in an increase in the average size of houses over time. This is especially evident in the increase in the average floor area of new residential dwellings; which increased by 31% in the 20 years to  2006–07.

And:

“The higher rate of growth in housing stock can be linked to the steady decline in the average number of people  per occupied private dwelling, from 4.5 persons in 1911 to 2.51 in 2006.”

Divorce must surely be one of the factors in this change – it’s not unreasonable to make the sort of link that Steve Fielding made. I’m not sure he deserves the scorn being poured on him by commenters at the Courier Mail and the original blog post from the left.

The author

Nathan runs St Eutychus. He loves Jesus. His wife. His daughter. His son. His other daughter. His dog. Coffee. And the Internet. He is the campus pastor at Creek Road South Bank, a graduate of Queensland Theological College (M. Div) and the Queensland University of Technology (B. Journ). He spent a significant portion of his pre-ministry-as-a-full-time-job life working in Public Relations, and now loves promoting Jesus in Brisbane and online. He can't believe how great it is that people pay him to talk and think about Jesus.