Utah Div. of Oil, Gas & Mining’s Earth Day Poster Contest Theme: Where Would WE Be Without Oil, Gas & Mining?

Clean energy rally in UtahStealing a page from the Westboro Baptist Church’s handbook on being dickish, the Utah Division of Oil, Gas & Mining is now promoting a poster contest for elementary school age kids with a “Where Would WE Be Without Oil, Gas & Mining?” theme and the winners will be announced at (drum roll)… an Earth Day Awards luncheon on April 26. The timing is no accident and the contest sponsor list is a veritable who’s who of the fossil fuel industry operating in Utah (Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Arch Coal Sufco Mine etc.). Here are more details about the contest from Climate Progress:

“Any child in Utah between Kindergarten and sixth grade is eligible. The contest’s primary objective is ‘to improve students’ and the public’s awareness of the important role that oil, gas, and mining play in our everyday lives. Last year’s contest winners made posters that detailed how dependent we have become on fossil fuels. To their credit, the grand prize winner detailed both ways we use products created by fossil fuels and ways we can reduce our consumption.

The children were not asked to make posters about the climate impacts caused by those same fossil fuels: drought, wildfires, and warmer winters.”

Fair enough. The contest by itself is not too extreme – especially when Utah’s economy depends so heavily on the fossil fuel industry. But what is unfortunate is that they’re making it a state-sponsored Earth Day Poster Contest that is about everything Earth Day isn’t – the benefits of oil, gas & mining. It’s like they’re attempting to hijack Earth Day. Why do it? Maybe they’re just dicks.

In related news: Monty Burns wants to promote the positives of nuclear power with a poster contest for the schoolchildren of Springfield. Finalist will be announced on August 6 and the winners will be announced on August 9. [Climate Progress]


Democratech’s Sprout Pencil Becomes A Plant Instead Of Trash.

When the Sprout pencil becomes an unusable nub, plant it in your garden instead of the garbage. That’s because it has a seed enclosed in its end-cap that when planted, can grow into an herb (the basil variety), flower or vegetable. Simple idea that with the help of their Kickstarter funds, Democratech will hopefully sell at a price close to standard pencils.

I first heard about the Sprout pencil back in August 2012. It seemed like a “gimmicky for good” idea and moved on. Then I watched the Kickstarter video and I have to make one recommendation: only plant the Sprout pencils in a pot. If you plant a dozen of these in a garden, pointed up, you are unintentionally creating a booby-trap similar to what you’d in see in a movie like Platoon or even Home Alone. No more barefoot walks in the garden.

And while I’m on the subject of pencils – has anyone noticed how low-quality they’ve become? Is it the wood or the lead/graphite? Maybe I should avoid the 20 for $1 deals from the office stores because after sharpening, I may end up with 10 usable pencils.

More than likely, the Sprout will sell at a premium over standard pencils so expectantly, they’ll be of higher quality. If they turn out to be inexpensive and low-quality, at least I’ll get 10 future plants immediately from my 20 pack. [Treehugger]


“Astronomical” Describes The Waste More Than It Describes The Book Series

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/34894951[/vimeo]Astronomical Book Series by Mishka HennerAstronomical by Mishka Henner is a 12-volume set that displays our solar system and the planets to scale. Each volume has 506 pages and the width of each page represents 1 million kilometers. The sun appears on pages 1-2 of volume I and the earth is displayed on page 155 of volume I. Jupiter is on page 283 of volume II.

The mostly blank-page Astronomical book series sells for around $156.

I’m sure there’s an artsy angle to the 6000+ page Astronomical series but even the above video is hard to stomach. I think that if Dieter from Sprockets would’ve written a book, this would be it. [Gizmodo.com]



Hug It Forward Builds Guatemala School Using Empties And Not Bricks

School in Guatemala Built from plastic bottles - Hug It Forward.Hug It Forward, a non-profit group based in Guatemala, has just built a new school for less than $10,000 by using empty plastic bottles as construction material. It’s one of 12 schools built by Hug it Forward using collected plastic bottles and some low-technology developed by PureVida. From Good:

The plastic bottles are stuffed with trash, tucked between supportive chicken wire, and coated in layers of concrete to form walls between the framing. The bottles make up the insulation, while more structurally sound materials like wood posts are used for the framing.

By collecting the empty plastic bottles that go into the building of their school, the kids will not only get an education but they’ll also get a lesson in Jubbling.
[youtube width=”425″ height=”239″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3gl1wWJdTM[/youtube]