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Earth Day Problems

The Earth


In 1970, Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin proclaimed April 22 to be "Earth Day." More than 20 million people participated in the first "Earth Day," which helped raise America's awareness of environmental issues.

  1. Rainforests cover only a small part of the Earth but they are home to more than half the world's plants and animals. It is estimated that rainforests are being cut down at the rate of 100 trees per minute. At this rate, how many are cut down every 24 hours? Every week?

  2. The average American uses 7 trees a year in paper, wood, and other products. If there are about 275 million Americans, how many trees are used in a year?

  3. Each American throws away about 60 pounds of plastic packaging each year. At this rate, about how many years would it take one person to have thrown away a ton of plastic?

  4. When you shower, you use 5 gallons of water every minute. Most people take 5 minute showers. How many gallons of water does a family of 4 use in a week (assuming they each take a daily shower)? How much do they use in a month?

  5. A bath uses 50 gallons of water. How much water could a person save in a week taking a shower instead of a bath?

  6. If each person took a 4 minute shower instead of a 5 minute shower, how much water could a single person save in a year?

  7. A gallon of thrown away paint can seep into the Earth and pollute 250,000 gallons of drinking water. A spilled gallon of gasoline can pollute 750,000 gallons of water. What kind of damage would be done by just 3 gallons of paint and 2 gallons of gasoline?

  8. It has been estimated that, on the average, each person in the United States discards about 32 pounds of solid waste each week. Some of the things that we dispose of can be broken down into: 5.1 pounds of ashes and dirt; 3.5 pounds of metal; 2.6 pounds of glass; 2.6 pounds of garbage; 2.2 pounds of wood, rags, and plastic. Make a bar graph to display this information.

  9. Make a bar graph showing the annual household waste per person in each country:
    (in pounds per person):
    United States - 1930
    Canada - 1157
    Italy - 542
    Japan - 758
    Sweden - 661
    Australia - 1500

  10. Below are listed materials and millions of tons generated in one year in the U.S. and how much of each is recycled. Complete the table by filling in the % of each material recycled.
Material Millions of Tons
Millions of Tons
% Recycled
Paper 77.8 26.5  
Aluminum 3.0 1.1  
Glass 13.7 3.0  
Plastic 19.3 .7  
Yard Debris 32.8 6.5  

11.   Make 2 pie charts to display this information:
Solid Waste Management
Recycled or Reused: U.S.- 11%; Japan - 50%
Waste-Energy: U.S. - 6%; Japan - 23%
Landfill: U.S. - 83%; Japan - 27%

Solutions to Earth Day Problems

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