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Eco-friendly date ideas

Julie Bielenberg is a Denver-based writer who served as managing editor for a regional home and lifestyle publication before starting Tweeter Communications, her editorial services boutique. With a BA in journalism from the University of...

Green dates

Green is the new black and supporting the earth is the new in-vogue date. Here are some ideas that can help you and your suitor give back to the community. Leave a smaller carbon footprint and do a little good for Mother Nature while spending time with somebody special on one of these eco-friendly date ideas.

Couple Walking

Zero-Carbon Footprint Dinner

Check your local event listings guide to see if any restaurants in your area participate in this up-and-coming trend. The dinners embrace green hospitality practices and arrange meals that use less energy consumption, recycling and food sources close to the dinning establishment. Some will even off set the carbon foot print required for attendees to drive to the restaurant with additional green measures.

Urban Gardens

Most large cities have urban gardens, so grab your shovel or rake and check out the Internet for a site close to you. Come spring, many of the gardens require additional work such as clearing out winter debris, planting seeds or even rebuilding fences. You can volunteer for a couple hours of work one afternoon and every bit of your efforts is much appreciated by the local neighborhood. Get a little dirty, work up a sweat and enjoy chatting away in the garden with your date.

Farmers Markets

Many of you do this regardless of eco-friendly-conscious behavior. Meet your date on a Saturday morning at the local farmers market. There are more and more popping up in communities and this is a fantastic way to support the local agriculture movement. Plan on a rendezvous at a certain time and location -- these places can get awfully busy and chaotic -- grab a cup of Joe, a great breakfast burrito and shop for items. You will find the majority of growers are from your own state and will offer you not only an abundance of the freshest and most delectable fruits, veggies, meats and more, but they will have great recipe ideas as well. Plan on picking out items to cook at home that evening for a romantic dinner for you and your date.

Get out in the Fresh Air

Instead of driving to a date spot such as the movies or mall, try hopping on a bike or walking to your destination. Less consumption of fuel equals less consumption of energy. Have you always wanted to try that bar out in your neighborhood; call that guy or gal and walk on over. Try bringing home any leftovers you might have from the establishment in wrapped foil so that you can reuse it again. Skip that plastic bag, you are not walking far and it's not needed. Or, for the athletic daters, sign up to do a 5K together.

Help out the Community

Large cities have various projects that you can sign up for to aid in city improvements. Some only require two or three hour time commitments, a perfect afternoon date. In San Francisco, you and your date can help clean the Bay (www.savesfbay.org). Live in the Windy City, then check out (www.kcb.org/kcb_cleanups.html) and attend a graffiti-removal party. New Yorkers, visit (www.newyorkersvolunteer.org) and plan a date at a local park clean up. Every city is in need of some greening, just do a bit of research on the web, and you could book a month's worth of dates!

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