How To Celebrate Earth Day? Utah Says: Oil, Gas & Mining!

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Sometimes there comes an idea so audacious, so inspired, so downright jaw-dropping that it's worth covering even if it doesn't directly involve cars.

You may know Earth Day is coming up on Monday, April 22.

Localities and groups all over the country celebrate it.

So, how has the Utah Department of Natural Resources chosen, for two years in a row, to honor the day on which we "inform and energize populations so they will act to secure a healthy future for themselves and their children"?

By inviting elementary schools in Utah and their students to create posters (exactly 11 x 17 inches, please) that describe the benefits of coal, oil, and natural gas.

The theme: "Where Would WE Be Without Oil, Gas, and Mining?"

"Coal, oil and natural gas provide most of the energy we use for heat, light, and electricity," say the contest rules.

"We use mined materials and petroleum products every day in gasoline, cars, computers, skateboards, home-building materials, and tools."

Contest submissions, the rules go on to state, should therefore illustrate how mineral resources in general support the quality of life in Utah.

As readers might guess, the little tykes are not encouraged to include in their artworks the carbon dioxide emissions created, nor the impacts of mining on the natural resources the Utah state department oversees.

We had originally written "protects," but that does not appear to be exactly the mission of the department.

The Earth Day contest is sponsored by a local division of the Society of Petroleum Engineers.

The contest topic has been a running controversy in Utah press coverage for a couple of weeks now.

It broke nationally in an April 1 segment on the popular satirical show The Colbert Report (see video below).

And, no, it's not an April Fool's joke.

There are very few times when the editors of Green Car Reports are speechless.

This is one of them.

Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.

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Comments (5)
  1. I have one word for the children of Utah. Inversion.

    You might not know what it means, but I am sure every child in Utah already knows it.

    Let the Petroleum Engineers come clean and tell the kids that it is caused by their product (or the people that burn it).

    I lived there for seven years. You know pollution is bad when you see it.

  2. Appalling, but not the least bit surprising, given that our so-called "representatives" are in bed with the oil/gas industry lobbyists:

    It is so bad that some residents are now hand drawing a "p" on the end of the first word of their license plate logos: "Ski Utah."

  3. What do you expect from one of the MOST "Republican" state in the country? (much higher % voted for Republican than even Texas).

  4. To counter that someone should invite those same schools to illustrate Where "Will WE Be With Oil, Gas, and Mining?"

  5. Thanks, John, for picking this up here. I am one of the media muckers, living in Utah, who helped get the word out of state. YES........directly to STEVEN COLBERT. Glad he did such a great job and that video now has over 25,000 views.

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