An Inclusive Litany


Patricia Wen reports in the Boston Globe, January 13, 2002, on a study linking environmental degradation with the proliferation of smaller households.
[The study's lead author, Jianguo Liu of Michigan State, said] the government should consider offering tax incentives for empty-nesters to share their homes, or penalties for people who choose to live alone. Government policy should also discourage urban sprawl, he said, which disrupts the natural habitat of animals and plants. "This can be a wake-up call for people to realize how their lifestyle impacts the environment," he said. "Each household can make a difference." ...

[Former Green Party candidate for governor of Massachusetts Jill] Stein said some novel solutions might include cohousing developments in which people retain privacy, but also share some common spaces. Cohousing is not only better for the environment, she said, but offers emotional advantages of a village-like atmosphere for young and old. Too often, she said, people fail to see the social benefits of living in closer quarters or enjoying communal spaces.

Stein, who has one child in college and another still at home, said she and her husband plan to evaluate their single-family living situation when they become empty-nesters.

[Ed.: Note that in the old days, couples would stick together merely for the sake of the children.]

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