Take The Earth Day Quiz
The first Earth Day celebrations took place in two thousand colleges and universities, roughly ten thousand primary and secondary schools, and hundreds of communities across the United States. More importantly, it brought 20 million Americans out into the spring sunshine for peaceful demonstrations in favor of environmental reform. It now is observed in 192 countries, and coordinated by the nonprofit Earth Day Network, chaired by the first Earth Day organizer Denis Hayes, according to whom Earth Day is now “the largest secular holiday in the world, celebrated by more than a billion people every year.” Environmental groups have sought to make Earth Day into a day of action to change human behavior and provoke policy changes.
Test your Earth Day knowledge with this short quiz and then check your answers below.
1) When was the first Earth Day?
2) What book helped launch the modern environmental movement, and led to the widespread ban of DDT?
The End of Nature
A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf
Earth in the Balance
3) The worst American nuclear disaster in history resulted from a partial reactor meltdown in 1979 at which power plant?
Shippingport Atomic Power Station
LaSalle County Nuclear Generating Station
Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station
Susquehanna Steam Electric Station
4) In which state did the disastrous Exxon oil spill occur?
5) What does 350, the ‘Magic Number’ of climate change, refer to?
350 million kiloliters of ocean water
350 parts per million of carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere
350 million hybrid/electric cars on the road globally
350 million megawatts of energy from carbon dioxide free sources
6) Which automobile pollution control technology became universally adopted following the Clean Air Act Extension of 1970?
Evaporative emissions control
Secondary air injection
Exhaust gas recirculation
7) What year did the United States EPA declared greenhouse gasses a threat to public health?
8) Which Soviet nuclear plant exploded, causing what is widely considered the worst nuclear disaster in history?
9) How much of our carbon monoxide pollution in the U.S comes from motor vehicles, like cars and trucks?
Earth Day was first observed on April 22, 1970, when an estimated 20 million people nationwide attended the inaugural event. Senator Gaylord Nelson promoted Earth Day, calling upon students to fight for environmental causes and oppose environmental degradation with the same energy that they displayed in opposing the Vietnam War.
A: Silent Spring
The New Yorker started serializing Silent Spring in June 1962, and it was published in book form later that year. When the book Silent Spring was published, Rachel Carson was already a well-known writer on natural history, but had not previously been a social critic. The book was widely read (especially after its selection by the Book-of-the-Month Club and the New York Times best-seller list), and inspired widespread public concerns with pesticides and pollution of the environment. Silent Spring facilitated the ban of the pesticide DDT in 1972 in the United States
A: Three Mile Island
The Three Mile Island accident was a partial core meltdown in Unit 2 (a pressurized water reactor manufactured by Babcock & Wilcox) of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania near Harrisburg. It was the most significant accident in the history of the American commercial nuclear power generating industry, resulting in the release of up to 481 PBq (13 million curies) of radioactive gases, but less than 740 GBq (20 curies) of the particularly dangerous iodine-131.
The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in the Prince William Sound, Alaska, on March 23, 1989. It is considered one of the most devastating human-caused environmental disasters ever to occur a sea. As significant as the Valdez spill was, it ranks well down on the list of the world’s largest oil spills in terms of volume released. However, Prince William Sound’s remote location (accessible only by helicopter and boat) made government and industry response efforts difficult and severely taxed existing plans for response.
A: 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere
The number represents 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere that some scientists say is the safe upper limit.
A: Catalytic Converter
First widely introduced on series-production automobiles in the U.S. market for the 1975 model year to comply with tightening EPA regulations on auto exhaust, catalytic converters are small chambers in which a chemical reaction is produced that converts toxic combustion by-products to less-toxic substances.
After a thorough examination of the scientific evidence and careful consideration of public comments, in 2009 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that greenhouse gases (GHGs) threaten the public health and welfare of the American people. EPA also found that GHG emissions from on-road vehicles contribute to that threat.
The plume from the disastrous explosion at Chernobyl drifted over large parts of the western Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and Northern Europe, with some nuclear rain falling as far away as Ireland. Large areas in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia were badly contaminated, resulting in the evacuation and resettlement of over 336,000 people.
Pollutants can be classified as either primary or secondary. Usually, primary pollutants are substances directly emitted from a process, such as ash from a volcanic eruption, the carbon monoxide gas from a motor vehicle exhaust or sulfur dioxide released from factories.