For Earth Day, find out how green you are

April 22, 1994

On the first Earth Day in 1970, environmentalists threw down the gauntlet saying, "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem." If you can at least answer half of these questions correctly, consider yourself environmentally literate and part of the solution.

1. In 1950, 30 percent of the Earth's land was covered with tropical rain forests. Today, how much remains?

a) 27 percent

b) 17 percent

c) 10 percent

d) 7 percent

2. Who took EPA agents hostage in 1980 to draw attention to Love Canal and is now an activist in Washington?

a) Barry Commoner

b) Rachel Carson

c) Paul Ehrlich

d) Lois Gibbs

3. Biodiversity refers to the abundance and diversity of all life on the planet. Approximately how many species (unique types) of plants and animals have been identified on the planet?

a) 750,000

b) 1 million

c) 1.5 million

d) 10 million

4. Why are most landfills closing? They . . .

a) begin to smell

b) are filling up too fast

c) often leak and contaminate the ground water

d) all of the above

5. What does N.I.M.B.Y. stand for?

6. Until recently, wetlands were considered worthless, mosquito-infested habitats. Today we know they . . .

a) are spawning and nursery grounds for most of our commercial fish

b) filter and dilute water pollutants

c) buffer dry lands from floods

d) all of the above

7. How much water can you conserve each time you use the dishwasher without the "rinse hold" cycle?

a) 1 gallon

b) 5 gallons

c) 10 gallons

d) 15 gallons

8. Laser printers produce ground-level ozone that contributes to air pollution.

True

False

9. Fruits and vegetables are often waxed to extend their shelf life and enhance their appearance. The wax may be embedded with pesticides and is therefore required by federal law to be labeled as such.

True

False

10. Lawn mowers produce the same amount of pollution as a car running for the same length of time.

True

False

Answers

1. d) 7 percent

2. d) Lois Gibbs

3. c) 1.5 million have been identified, but it is estimated that possibly 10 million exist.

4. c) They leak and contaminate the ground water. Ground water supplies 50 percent of the U.S. drinking water.

5. Not In My Backyard -- the battle cry for local opposition to proposed incinerators, waste disposal sites and other environmentally offensive projects.

6. d) all of the above

7. b) 5 gallons

8. True. Most printers have filters that should be routinely replaced or they allow the release of ozone which contributes to air pollution and can affect your health.

9. True. Although they hardly ever appear, stores can be fined $1,000 for not posting signs indicating the produce is waxed. This is a Food and Drug Administration statute and can be reported to your state attorney general's office.

10. True. Even though lawn mowers are much smaller with less horsepower, they are far less sophisticated motors and produce far more air pollutants per c.c. of engine.

Adapted from "Environmental Literacy" by Steven H. Dashefsky (Random House, $12).

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