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The "Big Here" Quiz
Jamais Cascio, 12 Sep 05

How much do you know about where you live? Not the politics of your hometown, mind you, or the details of the local markets and economy -- how much do you know about the land and your local environment? Peter Warshall started asking this about thirty years ago, turning the questions into a quiz (one we wrote about earlier); over time, his list of questions has grown. Kevin Kelly gives us the latest iteration of the test, which he calls the "Big Here" quiz.

Questions include:

2) What time is sunset today?
3) Trace the water you drink from rainfall to your tap.
19) How many days is the growing season here (from frost to frost)?
20) Name five birds that live here. Which are migratory and which stay put?
25) Name three wild species that were not found here 500 years ago. Name one exotic species that has appeared in the last 5 years.

The drive to get people back in touch with their particular local environment has a number of expressions, and is perhaps most visible in the "eat local"/"100 mile diet" movement. People can reasonably disagree about the importance of deep knowledge of a location in an era when few people stay put for long (I'm of two minds about the whole thing, myself), but this quiz is certainly a good trigger for making one think about what does and doesn't know about one's own surroundings.

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The next step in the quiz would be to ask people, now that they've thought about their locale, to think about how best to adapt to their locale.

Posted by: David Foley on 12 Sep 05



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