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Environment Trivia

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The first known item made from aluminum was a rattle made for Napoleon III in the 1850s. Napoleon also provided his most honored guests with knives and forks made of pure aluminum. At the time, the newly discovered metal was so rare, it was considered more valuable than gold.

Many parts of a tree can die without killing the whole tree. In fact, much of a normal, healthy tree is dead the wood in the center, for example.

The flower of the Calla lily is 8 feet high and 12 feet wide. It is grown in Sumatra.

Mattresses are potential fire hazards, and a recent nationwide survey by the Sleep Products Safety Council found that millions of Americans are storing them. People often expect to use a mattress again or to pass it to a relative or friend. But if not being used, a mattress should be discarded.

The fragrant patchouli is a member of the mint family.

McDonald's Corporation eliminated one million pounds of waste per year in the 1980s by making their drinking straws 20 percent lighter.

The Fresh Kills Landfill site on Staten Island, New York, opened in 1948, is the world's largest. It covers 3,000 acres and receives up to 14,000 tons of garbage a day. It is scheduled to reach capacity, and may close, by the year 2002.

Melting ice absorbs almost as much energy in changing to liquid water as is needed to heat the water from freezing to boiling.

Minus 40 degrees Celsius is exactly minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the only temperature for which the readings on both scales are equal.

Moist air holds heat better than dry, which is why nights in the desert are cool while nights in the humid tropics are torrid.

The General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park, California, is the largest tree in the world. It weighs more than 6,000 tons.

The giant kelps that create underwater forests in the ocean belong to the large group of plants called algae.

The Great Lakes are great indeed! This landlocked quintet holds 18 percent of the world's supply of fresh water.

More than 25 percent of the world's forests are in Siberia.

The Great Lakes are the most important inland waterway in North America. All the lakes, except Lake Michigan, which lies entirely in the United States, are shared by the United States and Canada and form part of the border between these countries.

More than 5 percent of the land on Earth is burned by fire every year.

The Great Lakes contain 6 quadrillion gallons of fresh water, one-fifth of the world's fresh surface water. The Great Lakes are the largest group of freshwater lakes in the world.

More than 6,000 wrecked ships lay at the bottom of the Great Lakes. One of the better known is The Edmund Fitzgerald. The ship sank on November 10, 1975 during a severe storm on Lake Superior.

The Great Lakes have a combined area of 94,230 square miles larger than the states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Vermont combined.

More than 71 million gallons of water pass over Victoria Falls in Africa every minute.

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