Is green or eco-dating the future of dating? This could be a possibility! As people become more aware of the climate and environmental issues troubling Mother Earth, the younger generations, the millennials and Gen Zs, are making a conscious effort towards sustainability in their everyday life—including their dating activities.
Within the trope of dating, there is a rise in the concept of green dating—also known as ethical dating or eco-dating. Green dating is a concept where romantic meetings with a loved one are planned and aimed at reducing wastage, caring for the environment, reducing carbon footprints, and possibly working together towards building a greener and more sustainable world. This new dating trend also involves bringing together individuals with the same ideologies and environmental values.
Millennials and Gen Zs are the two key demographic groups known to globally have a high level of engagement and action regarding climate issues, which is why these two generations can be considered the pioneers of green dating.
Green dating is amongst the many trends emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic. Besides lifestyle and work arrangement changes, people's dating preferences and styles have also evolved, with some relying even more heavily on technology as a platform to screen potential suitors. This allows those looking for love to conveniently match themselves with like-minded individuals based on shared online profiles with things in common. Contrary to popular belief that opposites attract, a study by Wellesley College and the University of Kansas concluded that people are drawn to like-minded partners—eco-conscious individuals prefer to meet other green-aware people.
While eco-dating is spreading worldwide, India has seen significant growth in green dating in the Asian region. Data from one of the famous Woman First dating application, Bumble, (in which the woman approaches the man first) shows that in India, environmental activism is a significant part of the younger generations’ dating life. According to this data, environmentalism ranked among the country's top value interest badges put up by its users. Over 28% of Bumble users have added the environmentalism badge to their profile.
Other online dating platforms, such as OkCupid and Tinder, have also seen a growth in their users mentioning climate issues on their profiles in countries such as the United States and Germany. This has motivated the platforms to create badges and identifiers that allow like-minded individuals to connect. According to OkCupid, the app has seen a 368% increase in the references to climate-related issues compared to five years ago. The app also indicated that over half a million users are displaying the climate change advocate badge as of early 2022.
When it comes to green dating activities, research has shown that in this post-pandemic era, more adults are inclined towards keeping their dates more active and green by taking strolls in the park, cycling, and enjoying picnics outdoors, amongst other activities. This change in dating and activity patterns can be attributed to the many lockdowns that countries had to impose to curb the spread of the virus. As a result, there is a rise in the appreciation the younger generations now have for holistic wellbeing.
Another area of green dating that the millennials and Gen Zs are exploring is sustainable gifting. The concept behind this is that partners exchange gifts such as reusable coffee mugs, environmentally friendly bags, indoor plants and other green gifts to promote environmentally-aware behaviour and walk the journey of encouraging sustainability.
Restaurants have also jumped on the environmentalism bandwagon, with many now offering sustainable dining options, making them ideal eco-dating spots. These restaurants aim to minimise their impact on the planet by addressing issues such as carbon footprint reduction, sustainable farming, shortening of the supply chain, food wastage, usage of sustainable cutlery, and recycling, among others. This allows green daters to enjoy their dates without worrying about contributing to climate issues and exacerbating sustainability problems.
It is highly encouraging to see how the new generations are making conscious efforts to mitigate climate and sustainability issues, even within their personal and intimate relationships. This highlights the fact that the millennials and Gen Zs see these issues as a sincere priority and are ready to make a difference in their approaches to 21st century living.
Green datingEco-datingEthical datingGreen dating in AsiaEnvironmental activism in dating