Geography Awareness Week Kicks Off!

Geography Awareness Week, established by presidential proclamation in 1987, is an annual public awareness program led by National Geographic, that celebrates the importance of geography education. Each year, more than 100,000 Americans take part in Geography Awareness Week activities through programs in their schools, local communities, and even their own backyards. This year’s “Geography: Declare Your Interdependence” theme investigates the idea that we are all connected to the rest of the world through the decisions we make on a daily basis, including what foods we eat and the things we buy.

National Geographic has planned various events this week to celebrate including:

Tuesday: November 13
Washington DC: Guerrilla Geography w/Daniel Raven-Ellison

Wednesday: November 14
GIS Wednesday

Thursday: November 15
Guerrilla Exploration Google Hang-out with Daniel Raven-Ellison (live from Seattle)

To kickoff the celebration today, here are ten things you may not know about your world!

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Our World

  1. The United States imports one-third of the entire world’s coffee production. Hawaii and Puerto Rico are the only two places in the U.S. where coffee grows commercially.
  2. The world’s largest zipper manufacturer makes 90% of the world’s zippers and operates in 71 countries.
  3. Mexico, Canada, Peru and China account for at least 93% of all fresh vegetables imported to the United States year-round. In winter and spring, as much as 60% of the produce is grown specifically in Northern Mexico, where its transport to the U.S. is susceptible to climatic disasters and social or political shifts.
  4. It requires 2,900 gallons of water to make a pair of jeans, 1,799 gallons to produce a pound of beef and 10 gallons to make one slice of bread. Yet one in seven people in the world lack access to clean water.
  5. Indonesia has the largest Muslim population of any country in the world, with around 205 million Muslims. That’s 88% of the country’s population and 13% of the world’s Muslims.
  6. There are areas in the Atacama Desert in Chile where no rainfall has ever been recorded by humans.
  7. In 1990, a cargo ship going from Los Angeles to Korea dumped almost 80,000 pairs of sneakers into the Pacific Ocean. Ocean currents carried them as far as 2,000 miles to Vancouver Island in Canada.
  8. There are around 850 languages recorded in Papua New Guinea, a country of approximately 6.3 million people. That’s more than 10% of all the world’s known languages.
  9. Lake Baikal, in the Russian region of Siberia, is 25 million-30 million years old and contains 20% of the entire Earth’s unfrozen surface freshwater.
  10. 75% of the farms that produce cocoa beans (the main ingredient in chocolate) are in West Africa. Cote d’Ivoire produces more than 30% of the world’s cocoa beans. However, Africa accounts for less than 3% of the world’s chocolate consumption.

Changing Planet

Meet the Author
Amy Bucci is a web producer for National Geographic. Her projects mainly cover National Geographic explorers, grantees and initiatives.