Climate Solutions

Climate Quiz

Test your knowledge about the ways the climate is changing — and what we can do about it
Climate quiz

All right: Time to see if you’ve been paying attention to Washington Post coverage of the people, organizations and governments trying to mitigate climate change, found on our Climate Solutions page. If you have, this quiz should be an easy A.

1. What is the “zero waste” movement?

Answer: B. The “zero waste” movement began decades ago but has picked up steam in the last 10 years as concern about sustainability has increased. Adherents try to reduce the amount of trash they generate by choosing reusable containers, composting and avoiding plastic and things that can’t be recycled or reused. Blogger Lauren Singer famously fit all the waste she produced over four years into a 16-ounce Mason jar.

2. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, how many pounds of trash does the average American throw away each day?

Answer: C. The average American throws away five pounds of garbage every day, 12 percent of which is plastic, according to the EPA.

3. What percent of plastic is never recycled?

Answer: D. Scientists estimate that up to 91 percent of plastic is never recycled and ends up in landfills or incinerators. In 2018, about 35.7 million tons of plastics were generated in the U.S., of which only about three million tons were recycled, according to the EPA. Some kinds of plastic, such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles used for water and soda. The recycling rate of PET bottles and jars was 26.8 percent in 2018.

4. What does the Swinomish tribe that lives on Fidalgo Island off the coast of Washington state call itself?

Answer: B. Salmon and shellfish are a staple of the Swinomish diet and a central part of their culture. Each year, the tribe holds a First Salmon ceremony to honor the fish. In recent years, climate change has diminished the catch to the point that the tribe must buy commercial salmon to feed participants at the ceremony.

5. The Swinomish recognized the signs of climate change and came up with an action plan to help plants, wildlife and fish to meet the challenges of a warming planet. When did they enact the plan?

Answer: D. The Swinomish enacted their plan a decade ago, becoming one of the first communities to enact a climate action plan. An additional 50 Native American tribes have followed, creating climate strategies to protect their land and cultures, ahead of most U.S. communities.

6. One of the features of the Swinomish climate plan is a restoration project that also acts as a community gathering spot. What is it?

Answer: B. A clam garden is a kind of mariculture. Tribal members work together to build and maintain a low rock wall at the shoreline that creates an optimal habitat for clams to grow. The garden creates a spot for elders to share stories, passing on tribal knowledge, while also supplying a “first food.”

7. How old are some cranberry plants that are still tended by farmers in Massachusetts?

Answer: B. While cranberry plants in Massachusetts predate the Pilgrims and date back to Native Americans, today some of the plants tended by the state’s 375 cranberry growers are at least 100 years old.

8. Which state is the leading producers of cranberries in the U.S.?

Answer: D. Commercial cultivation began in the U.S. when Henry Hall, a Revolutionary War veteran and ship’s captain, first grew cranberries in Dennis on Cape Cod in 1816. By the 1990s, Wisconsin passed Massachusetts as the nation’s biggest source of cranberries, producing more than half of the nation’s crop. The rest is rather evenly divided between New Jersey, Oregon and Washington state.

9. The small community of Greensburg, Kansas is distinctive in which way?

Answer: D. After an EF5 tornado - the most violent - nearly wiped the town off the map in 2007, Greensburg built back green. It has an energy-efficient school, medical center, city hall, library and commons, museum and other buildings that save more than $200,000 a year in fuel and electricity costs, according to one federal estimate. The city saves thousands of gallons of water with low-flow toilets and drought-resistance landscaping and, in the evening, its streets glow from LED lighting.

10. Last year, Kansas drew what percent of its electricity from wind power?

Answer: C. In 2019, Kansas generated 41 percent of its electricity from wind power, second only to Iowa, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

0 to 3 questions correct

Climate novice: You still have a lot to learn about climate change. But that’s okay: We’ve got you covered. Have 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. Have 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 can do as an individual 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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