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.

The Colbert Report
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