The taxpayer funded "Green Reaper"
The latest entry in outrageous government spending comes courtesy of the Department of Energy, which decided it needed to spend thousands of dollars creating a mascot to help terrify kids about the environment:
Thanks to a FOIA request from journalist Emma Best, the details of which were published this week at Muckrock, we now know a bit more about the history of the Green Reaper—a verdant version of the Grim Reaper that manages to combine the ominous presence of the original with the vacant eyes of a cartoon character. While the mascot seems best suited to shatter children's innocence by informing them about the inevitabilty of their own deaths, the documents show that the Green Reaper, which was designed in 2012, was intended to be used in "community outreach presentations to local elementary school children" and in internal memos reminding government workers to conserve energy and carpool when possible.
One of the most terrifying details in the FOIA'd documents is the claim that—in addition to making appearences at schools—the Green Reaper shows up "randomly" at the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). Um, no thank you.
The Green Reaper costume cost about $5,000 to manufacture, but the documents provided to Muckrock don't give a full accounting of how much time public employees spent brainstorming and designing it. Regardless, the government liked the design so much that Dawn Starett, the program manager who invented the Green Reaper, won a 2013 Environmental Stewardship Award from the NNSA for it.
You can read the entire FOIA file regarding the "Green Reaper" here.