Did you know that about 30% of the electricity used in the U.S. is used to power things that are switched off? TVs, VCRs, and some other devices need electricity to tell when their remote controls are being used to turn them on. Some other devices use electricity when they are off for other reasons.
From Consumer Reports.
The rainforest is being burned and cut right now at an amazing rate. In only 37 years, there will be no more rainforest unless we stop destroying it.
From Wildlife Fact-File.
Millions of birds are killed by cats every year. Some scientists estimate the number of birds caught by cats every day as 4,400,000. That's a lot of birds! Cats kill lots of other animals, too.
From an article by Judy Camuso in Habitat magazine (Maine Audubon Society).
Here's some proof that the Endangered Species Act works! There are more than four times as many nesting pairs of peregrine falcons in North America than there were in 1975. The peregrine falcon might even be taken off the Endangered Species list.
From the Bangor Daily News, August 26, 1998.
Gold mining is very bad for the environment. Toxic chemicals are used in the mining process. To get one pound of gold, you have to dig up 1,500 tons of rock. 80% of all gold found in 1995 and 1996 will probably be made into jewelry. If you avoid buying gold jewelry, you will make less mining necessary.
From an article by Mark Jacobson in Natural History magazine.
Many of the world's plants and animals are in trouble! 12.5% of all plant species, one tenth of bird species, and one fourth of mammal species are in danger of becoming extinct.
From "Sightings", Nature Conservancy magazine.
Bats are the only mammals that can fly. Most of them do not drink blood, they do not get tangled in people's hair, and most of them do not have rabies (although they can get it). Bats can eat lots of insects including annoying mosquitoes. A cave such as Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico can contain as many as one million bats. These bats may eat several tons of bugs every night. They find insects by making sounds and listening to see if they bounce off of things. This is called echolocation. You can't hear the sounds bats make, even though they are as loud as jackhammers, because they are too high-pitched for you to hear. Some bats eat fruit instead of bugs. The three species of vampire bats eat blood (They don't suck blood, they drink it.), but they don't kill their prey, and mostly eat blood from wild animals and farm animals. They seem to prefer to bite different animals in different parts of their bodies. They live in southern North America (Mexico and a few spots in the southern United States), Central America, and South America. Many insect-eating bats are killed because people think they are vampire bats. Vampire bats are small, not as big as many fruit bats. Bats actually can see quite well, but the insect-eating species don't use their eyes much because they fly at night. Most fruit bats do not use echolocation. Another interesting bat fact: According to the 1995 Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, the male African hammer-headed bat attracts a mate by singing. Click here to find out about Bat Conservation International and find out more about bats.
Some of this information from Carlsbad Caverns by John Barnett and "Bat", 1995 Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia
Insects are tougher and more amazing than you might think. Here are some amazing insect facts. One kind of midge larva survived a -454 degree Fahrenheit (-270 degrees C) liquid helium bath, and an African ant can walk on 140 degree F (60 degree C) sand. Don't try to drive down the road chasing a speeding horsefly; some can go 90 MPH (145 km/h). You probably don't think of insects as living very long, but inside an old log, you might find a beetle that will live to be 50 years old. One more fact: a cicada that lives in Africa can be almost as loud as a bat (read fact 7 to find out how loud a bat is).
From "Bugs You Won't Believe", Ranger Rick magazine.
You've probably heard of the frogs that have been found with extra legs or missing body parts, but did you know why they are like that? Some scientists think that the frogs are deformed because of chemicals in the water. Scientists hatched deformed frogs from eggs that were in water that they had intentionally "polluted". However, some scientists thought that the problem wasn't water pollution. They think that the problem is ultraviolet light being let through the atmosphere. When we use products with CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons), they destroy ozone in the atmosphere, letting ultraviolet light through. These scientists exposed frog eggs to UV rays. Their frogs were also deformed. Both water pollution and UV radiation may be involved. We do know that we are causing problems in frogs, and that we might be hurting ourselves and other living things, too. For more information, look at the Minnesota County School Frog Project Web page (E-mail:
From "Ask Scarlett", Ranger Rick magazine.
Birds can be amazing, too. Some birds, such as Florida scrub jays, stay with their parents and help raise their next batch of brothers and sisters. Some songbirds are amazing in another way: their brains actually get bigger in the spring when they need to sing their songs. Another fact about songbirds' heads: They grow a second layer of bone on their skulls as they get older. Scientists can tell by looking closely at a bird's head how old it is. (Don't try this at home; scientists need special training to safely hold a bird.) If you want to help birds, buy organic chocolate and shade-grown coffee. Migrating birds like the forests where these products are grown.