Caring About Climate Can Help You Get Laid

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People on OKCupid are swiping right on climate action—or something? I’ve never used a dating app.

But I do know the company has filters so you can get rid of climate deniers when you’re searching for someone, whether it’s The One or a one-night stand. In a viral tweet earlier this week, the company highlighted the feature. And it turns out a lot of people use it. Not only that, climate is becoming an increasingly popular mention in profiles, a trend that reflects broader changes in society.

In data shared with Earther, the company said there’s been a 240 per cent increase in mentions of environmental terms on people’s profiles like “climate change,” “environment,” “global warming,” “Greta Thunberg” and “recycle.”

An overwhelming majority of OKCupid users also care about the climate crisis. Ninety-seven per cent of them believe climate change is real, and 82 per cent say they’re concerned about it. More 90 per cent of users also said they’d take action to correct something they do after discovering it’s bad for the environment.

OKCupid’s algorithm matches you with people who seem to share your interests and beliefs. And how you answer questions about climate change could have an effect on who you match with, even if you don’t have the denier filter on.

“Since your match percentage with someone shows how compatible you two are, if you are a climate change activist and they think climate change is fake news, your match percentage is going to decrease,” Michael Kaye, OKCupid’s Global Communication Manager, told Earther in an email. Since most people on the platform aren’t climate deniers, that means vocally caring about the climate crisis is helping people get laid.

On some level, it makes sense that people feel a sense of connection over shared interests. But it’s telling that climate change is becoming one of those things in addition to the standard walks on the beach and all that.

“In my experience, people are finding that it’s really difficult to have an intimate relationship unless there’s a really deep alignment on how we’re relating to the issue,” Renee Lertzman, a psychologist who specialises in the melancholic psychological responses to environmental crises, told Earther. “That doesn’t mean you have to feel exactly the same way or engage on exactly the same level, but what really matters is that how you feel about it is actually ok with your partner.”

But while environmental concerns might help people match up and find shared values, they don’t always make it easier to go on dates. That’s because the climate crisis can be a real downer, and sometimes it’s tough to ignore the very real feelings of stress it can cause thinking about our world on fire.

“I’ve talked to a number of people who are experiencing a number of relational difficulties because of the way they respond to these issues,” she said. “People may be struggling with a lot of depression, with anxiety, with agitation, and their partner may not be equipped to handle it and might not relate to having that kind of response.”

Despite the potential of partners to stress about climate together, Margaret Klein Salamon, a clinical psychologist who founded Climate Mobilisation, said the she also thinks aligning on climate issues can have practical benefits when navigating a relationship.

“Living in climate truth means actually facing not just that climate change is happening, but also the implications of that for everything,” she told Earther.

Shared concern about the climate crisis might mean making choices together is easier whether its not flying for your honeymoon, having children, or moving to a place like Miami Beach which is facing the imminent threat of climate disaster. Shared beliefs can also help couples decide how they want to engage politically.

“Speaking personally, I was a volunteer for five years while building my climate organisation, and my husband supported me,” she said. “And he felt that by doing that, he was also in the movement in a way. That’s a kind of relationship that can make sense for a lot of couples. If one person is really deep in the movement, the other one can take care of some of the necessities of life.”

So if you care about the climate crisis and you’re looking for a life partner, it makes a lot of sense to say so on your OkCupid profile. But if you happen to end up on a date with a climate denier or someone who doesn’t share your extreme level of concern, Lertzman said to be patient and compassionate.

“I’d encourage people to be curious,” she said. “Lead with questions about them, seek to understand their point of view, and then ask permission to share more information. Ask, would you be open to hearing my experience with this issue, or hearing what I’ve learned?”

In other words, don’t lecture people. “All that’s going to do is spread the idea that to care about climate change, you have to be some kind of radical, or have some hardcore belief system,” she said. “Don’t push information on people who may not know everything you know, and don’t correct people. That’s so unsexy.”

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