Carbon-free dating

Couples seeking to break free from a cycle of boring dates can celebrate Earth Day on Saturday April 22—or any day, really—with an eco-friendly, alternative date. 

In addition to strengthening your relationship, these dates allow for quality time that benefits the environment and brings you closer to nature.

When planning your next date, take advantage of the warm spring weather by foregrounding outdoor activities. To incorporate some environmental activism, perhaps volunteer at a local park for the afternoon. Either with local organizations or on your own, couples can serve the community’s ecological needs by removing litter and tidying up nature trails.

If spending the weekend on an environmental cleanup mission does not sound like your ideal date, then seize the opportunity through dating and exercising. For an enjoyable afternoon without a carbon footprint, lead your date on a bike tour around campus, down Main Street or through one of the local parks. 

Those seeking refuge from increasingly warm temperatures can settle in for a relaxing outdoor picnic. To incorporate some more excitement, consider making a picnic to keep in a backpack as a break from such larger activities as a hike. Keeping with the theme of environmentalism, store and transport the food in non-disposable containers that you can later wash and reuse.

Although many of the eco-friendly date ideas highlight daytime activities, you can continue your environmentalist romance into the night by stargazing. To compound the grandeur of the night sky, consider—if feasible—leaving your cell phones turned off and experiencing the date unplugged. 

For couples seeking environmentally-friendly relationships, try reconfiguring standard dates—like shared meals—from an ecologically conscious perspective. When preparing your next home-cooked dinner, propose a trip to the local co-op or farmer’s market for your ingredients. To go the extra conservationist mile, walk or bike to the market and purchase as many in-season foods as you can. 

Focusing on a connection to nature, most eco-friendly dates find their settings outdoors. If, however, you and your date would prefer a climate-controlled activity sheltered from the elements, you can still limit your relationship’s carbon footprint. For environmentalists seeking indoor dates, consider trips to a local museum, gallery or public library. 

While some more exuberant couples might pursue wholly green dates from the get-go, couples who want to ease into environmentalism can begin by incorporating small, eco-friendly changes individually. 

To commemorate Earth Day, suggest environmentally-friendly dates that will strengthen the bond you have not only with your significant other, but also with nature. Especially as the seasons change, eco-conscious dates distinguish themselves as one of the most effective ways to enjoy the warm weather while it lasts. 

Beyond the personal enjoyment, these green date ideas offer larger environmental benefits that enable couples—on the smaller scale—to do their part.