Long-distance Love Bad For The Planet

Cross-country lovers can spoil the environment with their fat carbon footprints

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If you’re currently caught in the throes of a whirlwind long-distance romance, but you also think of yourself as a green champion of the environment, you’ve got some tough choices ahead: your lover or the planet? According to this Slate article, it turns out dating anywhere but local can put a huge burden on the environment.

Consider this: If faraway paramours fly once a month to see each other, they’ll dump 35 metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, which creates a monthly carbon footprint six times larger than that created by your average driver. Even if the’re within 5 hours driving distance, commuting lovers will emit as much as 3.5 more metric tons of CO2 than the average citizen.

While estimates on the amount of long-distance couples are shady, even conservative guesses figure about 10 million people are involved in smog-choked liasons. The cumulative carbon footprint could be as much as 18 million metric tons of CO2 a year.

What to do? Simple—convince your lover to move closer, move closer to them, or break up. The article endorses the idea of becoming “locasexual,” or only dating those within your town/neighborhood/apartment building. Dating local has human benefits as well, including improved social networks, better standards of living because you’re not blowing cash on travel, and well, more sex. Do you need any other reasons?

What do you think? Who out there is engaged in a long-distance tryst?

—Ted Alvarez

Date Local (Slate)