Where in the world is the Pacific?


Our circulation manager, Howard Marsh, made me take a test last week. I didn’t ace it, but I can report I did better than many U.S. residents half my age.

The quiz was a sample of questions posed to young adults 18 to 24 in America, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Mexico and Sweden – part of the National Geographic-Roper 2002 Global Geographic Literacy Survey.

The questions tested the young adults’ knowledge of geography and the geography of current events. Out of the 56 questions, on average, young Americans answered 23 questions correctly. Top scorers were respondents in Sweden, Germany and Italy.

Mexico ranked last. The United States came in second to last.

The ignorance displayed by U.S. young adults was appalling. For example, nearly 30 percent of U.S. respondents couldn’t find the Pacific Ocean. Only 44 percent could identify the European Union as the organization that endorsed the “euro” as common currency for its members (other answer options included NATO and OPEC).

Perhaps the saddest finding was that 11 percent of the U.S. respondents couldn’t identify where their own country was on a map. Their own country!

To our credit, we weren’t alone in our ignorance. In no country, could even half of the young adults surveyed locate Israel on a map of the Middle East and Asia, despite the ongoing news spotlight on that country.

“If our young people can’t find places on a map and lack awareness of current events, how can they understand the world’s cultural, economic and natural resource issues that confront us?” asks John Fahey, president of the National Geographic Society. I agree.

National Geographic is leading the effort to improve our cultural and geographic illiteracy by creating a coalition of education, business and policy leaders. The coalition is expected to release its recommendations next year.

Curious how you might stack up? You can take an online version of the survey at www.nationalgeographic.com/geosurvey.

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Farm and Dairy played a role in the transfer of a bit of history Nov. 27, as Guy and JoAnn Kitchen of Lakewood bought the home in Norton, Ohio, where Goodyear rubber company founders Frank and Charles Seiberling were born.

The couple had seen the auction, conducted by auctioneer Harold Farnsworth, advertised in Farm and Dairy. They were the top bidders, at $315,000, for the 1839 Greek revival home, barn, three-car garage and five acres.

This is certainly not the first buyer and seller Farm and Dairy has helped connect, but it is unique offering – one of many that you’ll find in the pages of this publication.

Happy hunting!


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