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]

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GEOlino’s MELTDOWN Board Game: Lead A Polar Bear Family To Safety Over Actual Melting Ice.

GEOlino MELTDOWN Polar Bear Board Game.GEOlino’s MELTDOWN is a board game and the object is to save a family of polar bears before actual ice melts. Here’s a description of MELTDOWN from their website:

“The aim of the game is to take a polar bear family from the permanent ice floes to safety on the mainland. It’s a race against time, as the way leads across real, slowly melting ice floes, which children can make themselves with the accompanying mould, a bit of water and a freezer compartment. The chunks of ice are arranged on a blue polar sea sponge to form a small Arctic. The sponge is used as the game board and absorbs the melted ice at the same time. Now you can start saving polar bears.”

GEOlino MELTDOWN board game polar bearsMy take: after playing 100+ mind-numbing games of Candy Land, playing MELTDOWN would be a treat. Saving the polar bear family is a group goal in MELTDOWN so there are no winners or losers and MELTDOWN’s message about our environment is subtly delivered. What’s not to like?

Another nice feature of MELTDOWN: for parents who get stuck in the “lets play it again” loop – the melting ice is the clock and once it’s gone, you have to wait for it to re-freeze to play another game. Take that Candy Land. [MELTDOWN via Grist]


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Energy Conservation 101: Lake Stevens School District Turns Things Off And Saves $1.5 Million.


Energy conservation saves Lakes Stevens SD $1.5 Million - King5Saving energy doesn’t require an app. Lake Stevens School District in Washington saved $1.5 million over a 20 month period by simply unplugging and turning things off. Consume less. [CleanTechnica via Grist]

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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]

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Cardboard Prom Dress Is Much Better Than MY Cardboard Prom Date

Cardboard and paper bag prom dress.The kids today are so much savvier than we were and the cardboard prom dress is just one more example.

Missouri high school student Maura put together her dress for this year’s prom using all 3 layers of a corrugated cardboard box and paper bags. The top section of the dress is made out of cardboard that was first spray-painted and then glittered. The bottom part of the dress is made out of painted paper bags. Visit Everything Dresses for her previous handmade prom dresses including one that was crafted out of Dorito bags.

Maura’s prom dress last year was made out of pull-tabs and that got us thinking about a possible eHarmony Jubbling love connection… [BoingBoing] Pull Tab Phillies Shirt and Pull Tab Prom Dress

Related Article: Iowa Girl Takes Life-Sized Cardboard Cutout Of Tim Tebow To Prom

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The Story Of Bottle Water With Annie Leonard

The Story Of Bottled Water” is the latest video from Annie Leonard and the team that created The Story About Stuff video in 2007.

The Story Of Bottled Water follows the rise and acceptance of bottle water as a pseudo healthier alternative to tap water. And the video highlights bottled water’s success as a perfect example of manufactured demand; corporations playing into our fears and selling us on products we don’t need and/or already have. The video’s message is simple and encourages people to reconsider their next purchase of bottled water in favor of normal everyday tap water. In many cases, tap water scores higher than bottled water in quality and blind taste tests.

[youtube width=”480″ height=”289″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Se12y9hSOM0[/youtube]

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