LONDON, Dec 11 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - As the planet heats up, young people looking for love are throwing aside traditional dating rules and bonding over shared social causes, particularly tackling global warming, according to analysis of profiles on dating site Tinder.
Generation Z Tinder users - aged between 18 and 25 - are more politically engaged than the previous millennial generation and are seeking a match they can march alongside as much as lay their head next to, Tinder’s “Year In Swipe” report found.
“You only need to look at how young single people are presenting themselves in their bios to see what they think is important when getting to know new people,” said spokeswoman Jenny Campbell, describing Gen Z as the “activism generation”.
“The uptick in Gen Z speaking their minds via Tinder on politics, hot-button topics and causes suggests they’re not only ready to make their voices loudly heard... but are looking to develop relationships with others that hold similar values.”
An Amnesty International poll this week found climate change tops the list of global concerns for young people worldwide, while the school climate strike movement led by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg has helped make the issue a touchpoint for younger generations.
The Tinder analysis suggests young users of the service are abandoning the traditional etiquette that politics should be off the menu when getting to know a potential love interest.
Instead, as they look for love in a time of climate change, they are seeking partners who share their commitment to activism.
While millennials tend to bond over their wanderlust, Gen Z users were more likely to mention a cause or mission in their profiles on the site, the report found.
Climate change and the environment were the issues most often mentioned by younger daters, who were 66% more likely to cite them than millennial users.
The Tinder findings were largely comparable to those at OkCupid, another major dating site, which said its Gen Z and Millennial daters ranked the environment as more important than world peace, eradicating disease, and the economy.
However, its millennials came out narrowly ahead of Gen Z daters in terms of engagement on climate issues.
“Climate change is one of the most talked about issues among young daters,” said OkCupid spokeswoman Melissa Hobley.
“We’ve actually seen an 800% increase in mentions of Greta Thunberg on profiles around the world this year... so this is one dating trend we don’t expect to expire any time soon.”
However, a spokesman for gay dating site Adam4Adam expressed scepticism over whether users really had climate change foremost in mind when logging onto dating sites.
That site's users were looking "mainly to find someone either for a date or for fun and sometimes for long-term relations - not to discuss climate change," he said. (Reporting by Sonia Elks @soniaelks; Editing by Laurie Goering. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit news.trust.org)