This is an archived article that was published on in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

I'm furious that a statewide Earth Day poster contest is sponsored by the Salt Lake petroleum section of Society of Petroleum Engineers and the Utah state government's Division of Oil, Gas and Mining.

At my son's elementary school, students were provided instructions, which included: "Show where we would be without ... oil, gas, and mined minerals. For instance: Coal, oil and natural gas provide most of the energy we use for heat, light, and electricity. We use mined materials and petroleum products every day in gasoline, cars, computers, skateboards, home-building materials, and tools." Posters will be judged on their "demonstration of how products from mining and oil and gas extraction are essential to our daily lives."

Why is the state backing an "Earth Day" contest that celebrates fossil fuels, while completely ignoring the adverse effects that their use and extraction can too often have on our air quality, water quality, public lands and the other organisms we share the world with? Shouldn't Earth Day be about championing things that can help reverse the negative impact of our dependence on fossil fuels?

Frankly, I'm disgusted that the state is backing propaganda like this in our schools.

Colby Poulson