An Earth Day contest for Utah students endorsed by the state has some of the holiday’s most devout observers upset over its theme: “Where Would WE Be Without Oil, Gas, & Mining?” The contest asks students from kindergarten through sixth grade to make a poster answering that question while highlighting “the important role that oil, gas, and mining play in our everyday lives.” The contest is part of an initiative from the Utah Division of Oil, Gas, and Mining, which is under the state’s department of natural resources, to emphasize “that our modern society doesn’t exist without petroleum and mineral extraction.”
Last year, the DOGM held a similar contest with the theme “How Do YOU Use Oil, Gas, and Mining?”
As one could expect, environmental activists have spoken out against the contest for “training [children] to grow up loving oil and coal,” as a University of Utah professor put it. “It comes across as, ‘Let’s indoctrinate your children on the benefits of these resources and activities,’” echoed a student’s father.
The final day to submit a poster was yesterday, and a winner from each grade will be announced early next month. The winners will be invited to the Earth Day Award Luncheon in Salt Lake City, have their posters framed, and receive certificates from the governor.