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Persuasion by Coloring Book

There is a curious technique employed by some companies involved in the resource-extraction game: When you have a controversial activity underway that is getting increasing—and unwelcome—scrutiny from the government and the public, take your case to the under-10 set.

Exhibit A today is a coloring book touting the wonderfulness and cleanliness of natural gas. It is put out by Talisman Energy, a Canada-based exploration company looking for gas deposits in Pennsylvania and environs. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette  has a considerable piece on this big news.

The narrator and lead actor in the book is Talisman Terry, a Fracosaurus. This is a bit curious, because it is “fracking” that’s been getting bad press lately. Terry doesn’t say anything about his species, or genus, or whatever he is, or about fracking itself, maybe because fracking involves injecting high-pressure liquids into coal seams to release pockets of natural gas. There are side effects (aren’t there always?)

 
 

As Grist  puts it:

Kids! Are you worried about natural gas companies pumping mysterious chemicals into the rocks near your house, leaking methane gas, poisoning cattle, and making your water flammable? Well, don't be! A coloring book from Talisman Energy says everything will be fine, and afterwards there will be deer and rainbows.

Do the big thinkers at Talisman think their booklet will inspire kids to persuade their parents to get on board with fracking? Seems a bit of a stretch, and suggests to me at least that the company feels defensive about its public image, not to say its bottom line.

On the other hand, the environmental movement has always put a great deal of stock in education, and has supplied much information of a persuasive nature to schools describing the wonders and joys of the natural world. Maybe this is a predictable reaction from the dark side.

Tags:  fracking

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