Dating Local

Case’s B- green report card grade reflects that students recycle and enjoy the Farm-to-Fork grub at Leutner, but are our hearts really in the right place?

According to a statistic in Laura Stafford’s Maintaining Long-Distance and Cross-Residential Relationships, 25-50% of college students are in a long distance relationship at a given time and 75% of college students have been in at least one long-distance relationship. This is evidence supporting my theory that our hearts are not actually residing within the Case campus. As students share their love cross-country or even just cross-county, their emotions are not alone in taking that leap of faith; your carbon footprint is leaping across as well.

Let’s consider the impact of a Case student dating an alumn who moves to Arizona for grad school. The couple probably alternate in flying to see the other at least once a month. These monthly romantic trips will cost the environment approximately 30 extra metric tons of CO2 per year (http://www.carboncounter.org). Comparatively, the average American person, with a more conventional love-circuit, emits about 16.6 tons of CO2 per year.

Even if the couple decides to relocate, and the grad student moves from Arizona to Pennsylvania visiting one another every two weeks, they would still emit about three extra metric tons of CO2 per year. Suspiciously, both Case students are well aware of the impact of CO2 emissions and love recycling, but their eco-friendly habits disappear for the sake of romantic weekends. Planet earth should not have to suffer for long-distance love.

From a nation-wide perspective, the approximately 6.7 million un-married Americans in long-distance relationships and the approximately 3.4 million married people living separately (but are not “separated”) amount to about 5 million long distance relationships. Now, if all of these couples practiced the Pennsylvania-Cleveland relationship lifestyle, this would produce about 18 million metric tons of CO2 per year! Put into perspective, this is about 60 percent of the yearly emissions saved by the “moderate adoption” of hybrid vehicles.

Case’s dining service, Bon Appetite, provides food from more than 35 area farmers and of their total purchases, local products make up 24 percent. Why not apply this same eating logic to our dating habits? We should now watch our food-miles, the distance your plate of food traveled from production to the dining table— maybe we should also keep an eye on our dating-miles and observe just how far this person traveled to hook up with you.

Dating local is not foolproof—while attempting to contain our carbon-footprint; we may end up killing off romance. However, is it really so alluring and fantastical to be dating someone far off in an exotic locale and staying together against all odds? Is it really less exciting to lounge around and watch movies together than to empty your wallet just to cram a weekend with bonding activities and hasty hook ups?

Local dating is in our own self-interest. Oil prices are not going to get any lower, to the dismay of the long-distance relationship-ers, but to the advantage of the local daters. As oil prices increase, so will our local dating pools. So let’s trade in our passports for a haircut, a fresh stick of deodorant, and take a deep breath. Keep your chin up and next time you see that cute guy/girl with the canvas tote bag, be sure to keep your own Michael Pollan book visible and ask him/her for a date to the Natural History Museum.

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