Age can have positive impact on environment

Published 8:06 am Thursday, November 17, 2011

Go ahead, grow old gracefully.

The environment will thank you.

According to published reports, a research scientist in Germany has determined that after an individual reaches retirement age, his global footprint shrinks.

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The researcher’s work shows a correlation between age and reduced carbon dioxide emissions. Using the United States as a test subject, the researchinger compiled data on how much Americans of different ages spend on nine energy-intensive products and services, such as electricity; gasoline; and air travel.

Through a series of calculations, he dtermined that as Americans age they consume more and more of these factors – until they hit their peak around age 65. At that point, consumption of many of the measured factors (except for electricity and natural gas) decreases. And that, in turn, reduces overall carbon emissions.

The results are interesting simply because they quantify, by age range, who in society creates the larger carbon footprint. And, when extrapolated, the results could suggest that an aging population is actually of benefit to the environment.

The reality, though, is that population growth and strains on natural resources caused by the booming population will more than offset the greenhouse gas savings generated by an aging population.

And so the results are interesting, but not applicaple.

As a society, we will continue to struggle with the balance between our lives and nature. The effects of greenhouse gasses and global warming remain a polarizing subject, but one that requires we explore and address it. We are all given the responsibility of being good stewards of creation and of the world. That means we must make wise use of our resources and work to protect those resources for generations to come.

So yes, grow old gracefully. And while your simple act of aging may play a small role in helping our planet, it’s more important tap into the wisdom of a life well-lived to teach those younger than you to be responsible stewards of the resources and planet they have at their disposal.