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I often think about the time my friend, let’s call him Ben, went on a rubbish-picking first date. Ben had come up to Sydney for the weekend so, naturally, I curated his Bumble profile. He’d given me his blessing, but he had no option really.
Match one was a keeper and, just like that, he was off on his first Bumble date. I felt like a #proudmama, Kris Jenner style.
“She picked me up in her car from Waverton station and took me to the Coal Loader,” Ben remembers, speaking of the converted coal loading platform which is now a centre for sustainability with some leafy areas and nice walks.
“Everything was going very sustainably. We fed some chickens, walked outside and visited the Coal Loader. We were looking over the water at this lookout point and noticed some rubbish down on the rocks.”
At that moment, they both looked at each other and almost simultaneously asked if they should collect the rubbish. “Seconds later, we were down on the rocks putting beer bottles and a pair of briefs in a plastic bag. (I actually think the bag was also litter which was convenient). Deciding who should pick up the briefs was also some playful fun.”
“It was a very fun date!” says Ben, who reckons a mutual love for sustainability brought them closer together.
“Looking over our messages, sustainability was the focal area of our conversations, jokes and pick-up lines (yes, we tried environmental pick-up lines on each other, very hit and miss – mostly miss).”
I obviously forced one of these pick-up lines out of him: “The connection I’m feeling between us is stronger than the link between climate change and extreme weather.” Love is in the (rapidly-polluted) air.
The duo actually ended up going on quite a few subsequent dates and, although it didn’t work out, this experience definitely set a precedent for Ben in terms of eco-dating.
Since finishing school, he’s always been conscious about waste and pollution and finds it attractive when a prospective partner is environmentally-conscious as well. In this regard – eco-dating is a no brainer.
“I’m passionate about sustainability and I think it’s impossible to be ignorant about environmental issues in today’s climate. So for me a partner that is aware of sustainability issues and acts in ways that’s aligned to their understanding is very important.”
Now, I must admit, when he told me that he went on a rubbish-picking first date, I laughed. When I imagined it in greater depth, I laughed some more. But then I realised how dumb I was being and simultaneously began to realise how cute the idea of a sustainability date actually is.
I mean, picking up rubbish was a prime way for Ben to make dating an eco-conscious activity. Two birds, one stone, really – getting to know someone while doing something good for the environment.
There’s no harm in suggesting an eco-date because, when you think about, it shouldn’t matter what activity you do if the person’s worthy of your time and you naturally click to begin with. (Side note: if you rely on a bar and booze to date a certain person, they’re probably not the one.)
An eco-date might also help to weed out the good potential suitors from the baddies… because obviously we want a partner who isn’t a dick to the environment, right?
It’s important to do you part, no matter how minuscule it may seem. Every piece of rubbish picked up works towards a waste-free environment. Enviro-dates are definitely on the rise, so next time you’re struggling to think about date options, why not suggest making our public spaces cleaner places?
Making our land cleaner is a horny concept, after all.Image: Getty Images / Mint Images - Paul Edmondson