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Environment Trivia

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Leaves, collected in the fall and spring, are the easiest material to compost, and they are the most common materials handled at yard waste facilities.

Life expectancy of an American beech tree averages 275 years.

Life preservers and the lining of aviators' jackets used during World War II were made from fiber found in milkweed pods.

Lightning bolt charges can propagate for up to 100 miles; however, the actual channel of lightning is rarely larger than the width of a pen.

Lightning bolts generate temperatures five times hotter than the 6,000 Centigrade found at the surface of the Sun.

Lightning has hit the Empire State Building in New York as frequently as 12 times in 20 minutes. The building is hit by lightning about 500 times a year.

Lightning kills more people in the United States than any other natural disaster: an average of 400 dead and 1,000 injured yearly.

Lightning puts 10 million tons of nitrogen into the Earth each year.

Lightning strikes the Earth 1,800 times at any moment.

Lightning strikes the earth somewhere more than 17 million times every day, or about 200 times every second.

The EPA says that gas-powered lawn mowers contribute to 7 percent of the ozone pollution in the United States.

The Eternal God is a redwood tree in California that is believed to be 12,000 years old. That makes the tree four times older than the great pyramids in Egypt. Located in the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, the Eternal is 238 feet tall and 19.6 feet in diameter.

The fastest jet stream seen was found to be traveling at a speed of 408 miles per hour at height of 154,200 feet above South Uist, Outer Hebrides, Scotland.

Lightning travels 90,000 miles a second almost half the speed of light.

The fastest temperature change on record is a rise of 49 F in two minutes, from -4 to 45 F. This occurred in Spearfish, South Dakota, January 1943, between 7:30 and 7:32 a.m.

Living as long as 40 years, cashew trees can grow up to 50 feet tall. Surprisingly, though, one entire tree only produces around 10 pounds of edible cashews a year, which is why cashews are so costly.

The fiber of the stinging nettle was used to make the fine linen sheets upon which Mary, Queen of Scots, slept.

Living creatures create tiny weather systems called microclimates in their nests and burrows. For instance, bees fan their wings at the hive entrance during hot weather. This makes a cooling draft blow through the hive.

The first hurricane given a male name was "Bob," in July 1979.

Long before it was used as a "kiss encourager" during the Christmas season, mistletoe had long been considered to have magic powers by Celtic and Teutonic peoples. It was said to have the ability to heal wounds and increase fertility. Celts hung mistletoe in their homes in order to bring themselves good luck and ward off evil spirits.

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