Quiz: How Green are You?

Green quizzes abound, but how reputable is the information? 

Being green is hip. And taking quizzes online appeals to the inner procrastinator in most of us. So it comes as no surprise that many, many groups have paired the two, creating what seems to be a “how green are you” quiz bonanza.

No joke. Quick Google searches of the phrases “green quiz” and “how green are you?” returned a combined 250 million results. You can test your global warming know-how, for example, with questions from the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. On the Sundance Channel’s green page, click through 40 boxes to find out whether you’re a “champion” or another of 16 different eco-titles.

This quiz-mania recently came to my attention when I stumbled upon GoGreenScore.org, which tallies an individual’s green-ness on a scale of 0 to 100, based on answers to 20 easy questions. Created by husband-and-wife duo Lynate Pettengill and Curt Shontz, the quiz intends to “motivate people in a fun, light way to make green changes in their lives,” according to Pettengill.

Sounds good to me. Let’s see how green I am. “Do you recycle 25 percent of the time? Do you use your own bags when you go to the store?” Yes and yes! I must be pretty green. Moving on: “Is 25 percent or more of your food purchased from local food sources? Do you use all-natural, non-toxic cleaning products in your home?” Um, no and no. Hmmm.

I scored a 49.

In almost every instance, 49 out of 100 equals failure. But I didn’t feel bad about my results because GoGreenScore.org isn’t preachy. It’s simple and quick and makes its point in a light-hearted way. And of the six online tests I took, GoGreenScore.org was the most user-friendly.

A few things to keep in mind, however, if you take this quiz—or any of these brain busters, for that matter: Who’s sponsoring the site? (Companies owned by Pettengill and Shontz, for instance, sponsor and fund their quiz.) How reliable is the information? (Both Pettengill and Shontz say they are life-long environmentalists, but neither has a background in environmental science. Their answers, gathered by Pettengill and volunteers, do, however, come from reputable sources such as the Sierra Club and the Earth Policy Institute.)

These caveats don’t mean that quizzes like GoGreenScore.org aren’t worth five minutes of your time. But they do remind me not to blindly accept online eco-advice.

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