Climate Solutions

Climate news quiz: Cycling lanes and ocean plastic

Test your knowledge about ways the climate is changing.
Illustrations by Michael Parkin for The Washington Post

All right: Time to see if you’ve been paying attention to The Washington Post’s climate-related coverage. If you have, this quiz should be an easy A.

1. How many miles of streets is Seattle closing to make room for pedestrians and bikers?

Answer: C. The city’s “Stay Healthy” streets initiative led it to close off some streets to car traffic for the sake of social distancing. Seattle’s mayor, Jenny Durkan, recently announced the change would be permanent.

2. How many miles of cycling lanes are French officials aiming to add to the greater Paris metropolitan area?

Answer: D. Many European cities are making moves to increase the number of bike lanes to give citizens alternatives to using public transit, where it is much more difficult to practice social distancing.

3. How much has the British government recently invested in cycling and pedestrian infrastructure?

Answer: B. The British government has been investing in cycling initiatives for the past two decades. By 2025, they plan to invest 2.4 billion pounds (about $3 billion) in cycling and walking infrastructure.

4. How big is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?

Answer: D. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is located between California and Hawaii, doesn’t have defined boundaries, so its size is a rough estimate.

5. In which unexpected places have nanoplastics been found?

Answer: D. Scripps Institute of Oceanography at the University of California led a study that found plastic in our fossil record, buried in sediment on the ocean floor.

6. How is the Dutch organization, the Ocean Cleanup, addressing the challenge of ocean plastic?

Answer: A. Their research has indicated that 90 percent of ocean plastic can be found within five meters of the water surface. Over time, it degrades into microplastic that then sinks into the ocean.

7. What did Shahzeen Attari’s team of researchers who study human behavior and climate change discover about what people expect the energy system of 2050 to look like?

Answer: C. Attari’s team found that both liberals and conservatives expect that in the future, the energy system will rely mostly on renewable sources such as solar and wind.

8. What is the most effective way for people to conserve energy at home?

Answer: B. Attari said that as a general rule, people can keep in mind that large appliances that heat and cool use more energy than one might expect.

9. What discovery about commonalities between conservatives and liberals surprised Attari’s team?

Answer: C. Despite the rift in conservative and liberal attitudes with regard to climate change, Attari’s team found that most people, regardless of politics, want a green future.

10. What behavioral changes can people make to reduce their carbon footprint?

Answer: D. Attari said she tends to think about behavioral change on personal, social and political levels. She believes that the country’s behavior over the last few months shows that we are capable of making big changes, even when they come with large losses.

0 to 3 questions correct

Climate novice: You’ve still got a lot to learn about climate change. But that’s okay: We’ve got you covered. Got a question? Ask us here.

4 to 7 questions correct

Climate curious: Hey, not bad! You know a thing or two about climate change. But there’s still more to learn, and we’ve got you covered. Got a question? Ask us here.

8 to 10 questions correct

Climate expert: Well done! You’re super climate-literate. You probably already know that one of the most important things you as an individual can do to combat climate change is to spread the word. Go ahead: Brag a little, share this quiz with your friends, and find out who knows the most about climate change.

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