One thing that the over 366 million users worldwide can agree on is that — and there’s no surprise here — online dating can be tough. Finding the right match on apps like Tinder and Hinge can be hard when there are so many options and everyone’s out to make the best first impression possible. A great relationship often comes down to shared values, and it can sometimes be difficult to discern what a person’s values are based on a few photos and short prompts.
However, there’s a new dating app called Chispa that’s tailor-made for Latin singles looking for love. The app already has more than 7 million downloads, aiming to help like-minded Latino singles find each other in the ever-changing landscape of modern dating. Chispa is not only interested in connecting Latinos, but in enabling genuine connections between people with shared values. To celebrate Earth Month, Chispa introduced a new profile sticker for people who are passionate about the environment.
Courtesy of Chispa.
As climate anxiety impacts our day-to-day lives and thoughts about the future, Chispa is working with an environmental non-profit called GreenLatinos to connect people who are invested in our planet’s future and what we can do about it. To learn more about this new initiative, we spoke to Irene Burga, GreenLatinos’ Climate Justice and Clean Air Program Director, and Edder Díaz-Martínez, the organization’s Communications Director.
Burga understands that, for many people, climate preservation is a top priority. “We’re in a very heightened state,” she said, “and there’s a lot of awareness around the fact that we are living in a climate insecure place.” Like many of us, Burga is taking notice of the increase in extreme weather events across the country, but particularly in states with large Latino populations like California, Florida, New York, and Texas.
She believes that an increase in awareness is exactly what our community and our country needs right now to inspire necessary and continued action. In fact, calls to combat climate change have resulted in some major legislative changes, and Burga references the Inflation Reduction Act and the companion legislation around the infrastructure bill as key examples.
For Díaz-Martínez, it’s also a matter of addressing these issues based on impact. “Communities of color, Latino communities, are the ones that are disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis,” he said. As for why he’s such an advocate of the new collaboration with Chispa, Diaz-Martinez believes that bringing people closer together will help our communities that are facing this climate crisis. “You can find a partner that shares a similar background as you and shares these ideals. He added, “That’s the recipe for a successful partnership.”
That said, climate change has forced many people to reconsider their priorities for the future. Diaz-Martinez said that for some, that means reconsidering the decision to have children. “Climate issues are something that makes [people] really think about the longevity of creating a life, being able to continue living on the planet and being able to have a family, and what kind of a future you’re going to provide for that family.” He continued, “It’s very engrained [in our culture] to have children and to have a partner,” he said, “so being able to join a community with an organization like GreenLatinos really helps to alleviate some of those anxieties.”
Burga still has hope, though. Despite everything we’re experiencing now, she believes in a future for us and the generations to come. “We need more champions and we really need the youth invigorating the movement,” she said. “We need [young people] out there bringing in fresh ideas and bringing in solutions.”
There is also value, Burga explained, in turning “anxiety into action.” Finding a community that can understand and share those feelings is a crucial first step toward doing something productive with them. Díaz-Martínez agrees, and he’s proud of the work GreenLatinos has done to connect like-minded individuals in pursuit of a common goal. “That’s what really makes this organization pretty special among the environmental movement,” he said, “because you can really…talk about [these issues] in a community that will understand.”
Courtesy of Chispa.
With the option to put GreenLatinos stickers on their profiles, Chispa members now have a way to make it clear to potential partners where their values lie. Dating is hard enough, and our thoughts about the climate crisis have a huge impact on our ability to connect. For those who haven’t yet come around to acknowledging the severity of climate change, it can almost feel like two people in the same room are living on completely different planets. Chispa’s GreenLatinos sticker makes it so that there’s no need to wonder if the person on the other side of the screen sees these issues similar to how you do.
“Hopefully [the sticker] can spark a conversation,” Burga said. “And everything starts with that kind of conversation. You can share your own story or your own history.” Latinos already have a long-established relationship with the environment, and a lot of Latin singles are looking for someone who feels similarly. “That’s my number one hope with the stickers, that it can bring together people with values and can spark really thoughtful conversations around the topic,” she said.
Many Latinos can trace their lineage back to the very same land they live on today, Díaz-Martínez pointed out. “A lot of Latinos have indigenous background,” he said, “and they start learning more about the relationship that they have with their background and their relationship with the land and maybe their relationship with the people that had the land before.” Caring about climate change is not only a way for us to connect with the people around us, but ourselves, as well.
“There’s a lot of ways that people, as they continue learning not only about sustainability but conservation, start realizing that there’s so much more to protect, including their culture and their background.”
We owe it to ourselves, each other, and our history to take the time we have and focus it on the planet and people that we love. If you’re still trying to find that special person in your life, Chispa and GreenLatinos want to equip you with one more tool to remove some of the uncertainty. With this new collaboration, a romantic spark can lead to even more than love. It can lead to change. Even though Earth Month is over, caring about our planet and the people on it is a full-time, year round job.
Josef Rodriguez is a writer, filmmaker, and film critic living in New York City.