We know her, we love her. Mother Nature. Planet Earth. Every April 22 we get to spend some time really thinking about her and hopefully taking some actions to make our only planet a little bit of a better place. In between all your tree planting, protesting, and avoiding creating trash and greenhouse gasses this year, test your knowledge on our earth and on Earth Day’s history with this little quiz.

Clear water lake in the foreground, with lush green plants on the far shore, and the moutains of Yosemite National Park - including Half Dome - in the background.

Test your knowledge on planet Earth and climate change

  1. The average annual temperature in 1970 was 51.6F (10.9C). How many degrees higher was the average annual temperature in 2022?
  2. Every ___ months, Americans throw away enough aluminum to build the nation’s entire commercial air fleet.
  3. Roughly how many trees are cut down each day worldwide?
  4. When will the hole in the Ozone layer be healed (to 1980 levels)?
    • 16 years
    • never
    • 150 years
    • 55 years
  5. What country has the highest recycling rate in the world?

See the answers

Bright orange rock formations of The Wave in Arizona.

Test your knowledge on Earth Day history

  1. Earth Day was established in 1970 in the US and in 1990 globally. Do you know who started the first one in the US and why?
  2. Each year, Earth Day has a specific theme. What is 2023’s Earth Day theme?
  3. What is the other name that some countries call Earth Day?
  4. Why is Earth Day always on April 22?
  5. Which of these is an image of the official Earth Day flag?
Four different flag options. Top left is a flag with horizontal green, white, blue stripes. Top right is a green flag with a yellow rhombus in the middle with a dark blue circle with white stars on top. Across the circle is a white banner that reads ORDEM E PROGRESSO in green font. Bottom left is a dark blue flag with a satellite image of the earth in the middle. Bottom right is a white flag with a dark blue border and a green circle in the middle.

See the answers

Answer key to the Earth Day quiz:

Earth and climate change questions

  1. 2022’s average annual temperature was 55.9F (13.3C). That’s an increase of 4.3F (2.4C). It’s important to know that 2022 was not the hottest year on record and that while just a few degrees doesn’t seem like a big deal because it’s not a big number – it’s totally still a big deal. Just a few degrees of change can shift weather patterns and play major affects on droughts, flooding, etc. as well as be detrimental to the food chain as crops and animals struggle with the change.
  2. Every 3 months enough aluminum goes into American landfills to create the entire US commercial air fleet. That’s nearly 6000 planes!
  3. Each day, about 27,000 trees are cut down. While deforestation is obviously bad, the good news is that tree-based paper can be recycled 6 times! In conclusion, you should be recycling whenever you can bestie.
  4. The ozone layer should be back to where it was in 1980 in just 16 years! If you feel like you remember people always talking about that ozone hole when you were little, but you haven’t heard about it in a hot sec – there’s a reason for that. Policies have helped to limit the bad stuff that was creating the hole and it’s healing itself. Although that ozone layer is still 24.5 million square kilometers (almost 9.5 million square miles), it will be healed to where it was in 1980 in our lifetimes (as long as current policies stay as they are…)!
  5. Germany recycles 56.1% of all waste in the country, making it the best total recycling rate in the world. After that, the next best recycling countries are Austria (53.8%), South Korea (53.7%), Wales (52.2%), and Switzerland (49.7%). For comparison, the countries with the worst recycling rates are Chile (<1%), Turkey (1%), Mexico (5%), Greece (19%), and Israel (19%).

Earth Day history questions

  1. Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson founded the Earth Day holiday after witnessing a huge oil spill in Santa Barbara in 1969. That first year 20 million Americans (roughly 10% of the population) participated. After that, the holiday led to the creations of the NOAA and the EPA in the US – organizations that work to help our planet.
  2. The Earth Day theme for 2023 is Invest in Our Planet. Some other previous themes include Restore Our Earth, Mobilize the Earth, and End Plastic Pollution.
  3. While Earth Day spread globally in 1990, the United Nations General Assembly officially adopted it in 2009, giving it the new name of International Mother Earth Day.
  4. The official date for Earth Day was chosen so that the day would appeal to college students! Organizers wanted students to have the time to pay attention to the holiday, knowing that the college student population plays a huge part in activism and protests. Because of this, April 22 was chosen so that it would fall after spring break, but before finals week.
  5. The flag in the top left is the flag of Sierra Leone. The flag on the top right is the flag of Brazil. The flag on the bottom left is the Earth Day flag. The flag on the bottom right we just completely made up.

So, how did you do? Get them all right? Totally flunk it? Don’t feel too bad about missing some – at least this grade isn’t going to affect your gpa!

What you can do

Looking for more info on our planet and how you can contribute to maintaining it’s health this Earth Day? We gotchu on that too. Some of the easiest ways to participate in Earth Day are:

  • going on a walk and collecting litter on your path
  • recycling (although that’s really an everyday thing)
  • planting plants that are local to your area – bonus points if it’s plants that help your local pollinators!
  • going car free for the day
  • getting out and enjoying nature
  • find a local environment protest or teach in to attend
  • leave no trace on your travels