Quiz reveals surprising answers to what actions would help Earth the most

I like to think that I know what my impact is on the environment. Don’t get me wrong — I know that no one knows everything, but I like to think I have a pretty good idea about how my actions are affecting the planet. And I thought I had a good handle on the steps I could take to reduce my contribution to global warming.

But I recently took a quiz — “How Much Do You Know About Solving Global Warming?” that opened my mind to a lot of new info.

I usually have an aversion to online quizzes because they are mostly made up and crazy — like the quiz, “Take This Quiz And I’ll Tell You Your Favorite Fast Food Nugget,” which is a real quiz online, right now.

But this quiz from the New York Times really made me think and I was actually surprised by some of the answers. It’s something that a lot of online quizzes aren’t: It’s educational.

The quiz challenged you to guess which of two options for changing our behavior would have a better impact for the environment in terms of reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. Some of the options were things that I had heard of before, like eating more plants and increasing our use of electric cars and solar power.

But some of the things that could help with global warming were things that I had never heard of before, like using clean cookstoves, which reduces carbon dioxide emissions. And some things I didn’t really associate with global warming were on the list, like educating girls. Obviously giving girls better educations should be very important, but I hadn’t thought about it in terms of global warming before. In places like Africa, giving girls a better education makes it more likely they won’t marry extremely young and that they won’t be married against their will. This also means lower mortality rates for moms and kids; it means women get to have more say about their families; and it curbs population growth.

The quiz poses questions like: “Which would cut more greenhouse gases: If everyone threw out half as much food, or if about half of all biodegradable food was composted?” To me this is a tough question, because I know both of those are good things to do, but which one would be more beneficial? I’m not going to tell you the answer, because I think you should take the quiz, but I will tell you that one of those things was ranked much higher than the other, and that it really surprised me.

You can take the quiz by visiting bit.ly/ClimateChangeQuiz. The quiz is based on the book “Drawdown,” which uses peer-reviewed science to study the effects, costs and benefits of a huge number of different things humanity could do to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions.

There is also a chart only that compares all of the 80 climate change solutions and shows the total atmospheric CO2-EQ reduction, net cost and savings: bit.ly/SolutionsRank. Spoiler alert — don’t look at this until you take the quiz because this ranks all of the solutions in order of their effectiveness and will give away all the answers.

Amanda’s Animal Fact of the Week

Foxes are solitary animals. Male foxes are called dogs; females are called vixens.

About Amanda Wheeler

Amanda Wheeler is the children and teen services librarian at the Lincoln County Public Library. She has a master's in zoology education from the University of Miami and has taught as an educator at the Cincinnati Zoo.

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