I know, I know. Long time, no Brokeass. Weeks. Months even. See, I got a second job, which has somewhat lessened my brokassity, but also cut back on the amount of time I have to sit around and ponder the subject. But don’t fear. I’m still pretty broke, and cheap by nature, so as often as I can, I will continue to bring you news and ideas for penniless treehuggers.

This week, we delve into the subject of lovin’ the planet, and each other, on a small budget.

Dear Brokeass,

Some of my friends were talking about dumpster diving, which reminded me of when I and a fellow brokeass dumpster-dove as a date. What other romantically tinged yet affordable and eco-friendly ideas might you have for the brokeass who is looking for love?

Holly
Seattle, Wash.

When romance and dumpsters meet, can you ever really go wrong? Dumpster diving seems like a swell date, and it sounds like there might be a love connection if you’ve found someone who is as broke as you are, loves the planet and hates waste, and is willing to pick through the trash. Can we ask for more in a partner?

But I digress. Aside from dumpstering, what other fun, cheap, eco-friendly dating options are out there? There’s always the long, moonlit walk through the park or along the beach, at least if you live in a place where those amenities are readily available. I guess a long walk along the highway is a possibility, but not necessarily the most pleasant. There’s also the option of getting out into the wilderness for a hike or some camping, if that’s what you’re into. Cheaper than a motel, no spotty mattresses to deal with, and also much more hard core. You can impress your date with your ability to wrestle bears and construct a tent from hemp twine and animal hide!

Another good option is to peruse the local scene for free events. Summertime is ripe with options, as free outdoor concerts, movies in parks, street fairs, art shows, and theatrical events start popping up like zits on a 14-year-old. Sure, not all of them are eco-friendly, but if you’re spending time outside at least you’re not sucking up indoor air-conditioning at some movie theater or driving your Hummer through the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Other fun stuff you can do outside: fly a kite, play Frisbee, walk the dog (if you don’t have your own, borrow someone else’s. Ask first though.), eat an organic/local picnic, stargaze, skinny dip, sing camp songs, hula hoop, braid each other’s hair, debate the shapes of clouds, or pick up trash along the roadside.

Stuck inside because of nasty weather? What about board games? The only thing sexier than someone who will dumpster dive with you is someone who can out-Scrabble you, IMHO. And you can always read aloud to one another from a progressive, environmental, web-based publication, do some interpretive dancing to your favorite indie rock tunes, or finger-paint with non-toxic paints derived from natural sources.

Honestly, the possibilities are endless. Romance blooms where kindred spirits meet, whether that be in a dumpster or at some swanky Italian joint. My favorite dates of all time have been a two-person dance party and an afternoon spent hanging out in an old cemetery. No greenhouse-gas emissions necessary!

And don’t forget: necking with another consenting, earth-loving adult is almost always free, and carbon neutral. Just, you know, cover Chuck before you buck, since unplanned population growth is decidedly un-environmental. And it ain’t cheap.

Concerned about the environment but don’t have the economic means to buy your way to carbon neutrality? Need some ideas on how to be savvy about the earth and your dollar? Direct your questions, comments, and ideas to ksheppard@grist.org. And remember, as the old saying goes, it’s better to be broke than to further the break-up of the Arctic ice shelf.