The Champ is in the house! Well, elementary school.
Recently, The Earth’s Champion, Johnny Green, preparing for his 2023 title defense, surprised a group of fourth grade students at Tonkawa Elementary School in Tonkawa, Oklahoma, with The Championship message: All Energy Has A Purpose, And We Are All Energy.
Green, who also markets under the moniker, “The Greatest Environmentalist on Earth,” presented curriculum materials from Petro Pros, along with a few of The Champ’s stories sprinkled throughout the presentation, including how Green won The Earth’s Championship near Rio De Janeiro Brazil, and what his Championship catchphrase was in 2019.
“Renewables Ain’t Doable Without Fossil Fuelables,” was his championship strategy, Green told the students. “When we work together, we create champions and champions save the earth.”
During the presentation, Green explained how many of our renewable energies are reliant on fossil fuels, how carbon is the building block of life, and how we have to have a strong mind not to allow carbon to become “Slender Man” (modern day Boogie Man).
The educational session went into overtime, as Green answered question after question about ethical energy and how industry is taking on environmental issues. He even answered a couple of questions on flaring, wildlife and water protection.
“Being able to engage with these students now is critical; they are hearing all kinds of fear-themed stories involving the climate,” Green says. “Kids are getting their content from Tik Tok, Instagram, YouTube – and The Champ is always hearing about new secret sites. The Champ gets invited to all kinds of cool unique places.”
Using STEM and popular culture, the students were part of a presentation that discussed types of rocks, fossils, time, temperature, pressure, the history of Oklahoma’s industry, and how oil and gas professionals are committed to cleaning the planet with ethical energy.
“Every energy has a purpose and place in this world and you kids are the real strength behind Johnny Green,” he told the students. “It’s smart, clever and cool students like you that are using STEM and the creative arts to help humanity solve problems, so do not be afraid to talk to The Champ or anyone else who is working and living the crude life.”
In 2018, The Crude Life, an energy-centric media company I founded in 2012, entered “The Global Environmental Movement” competition in Colorado, which essentially was an environmental and energy debate, town hall style of event with judges.
We entered the environmental debate with very upfront aggressive sponsorship from The Crude Life and our clever slogan, “Renewables Ain’t Doable Without Fossil Fuelables.” All the other contestants used polarizing politics and climate fear in their presentations. Since we were the only participants who used entertainment and scientific facts we – Johnny Green and The Crude Life – won the environmental tournament.
The Crude Life winning an environmental debate or tournament got me to thinking this message could catch on with other communities, possibly other debates, environmental rallies and educational competitions.
We sponsored Johnny Green and he went out on an educational awareness tour. Then something magical happened when Green serendipitously ended up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Green explained to the Tonkawa Elementary School children at the Petro Pros event that The Earth’s Championship tournament was held on raw, undeveloped land in the Brazilian mountains without cell service or modern amenities.
“This earth-friendly event was so organically green it kept away most of the world’s reporters, environmentalists and eco-agitators,” Green told the students.
After winning the The Earth’s Championship over Memorial Day weekend in 2019, Green and the Championship catchphrase “Renewables Ain’t Doable Without Fossil Fuelables” headed back to the United States.
Incidentally, that phrase happens to be on the Johnny Green T-shirt, worn in front of the kids in the audience. In fact, one kid interrupted the presentation to ask a question of observation.
“Are you the Johnny Green from the shirt you are wearing?” the student asked.
“Yes sir, young man, it is The Champ’s name on the shirt,” Green replied.
“Awesome!” the student exclaimed, putting his hand down.
Green channeled that engagement into the presentation of how oil and gas are used in 96 percent of what we use on a regular basis, from toothpaste to our toothbrush to getting the water from the faucet to use to rinse our mouth. Visual aids and episodes of engagement were used throughout the entire presentation and event.
Green and The Earth’s Championship belt have been planting seeds of ethical awareness and demonstrating values of respect, inclusion and diversity.
The Crude Life’s Champions in Energy are vital to the future of industry. The Crude Life is engaging in experiential events and sustainable energy talks with tomorrow’s leaders today.
Green used multiple visual aids and interactive exercises during the event, including sweet Bakken crude oil pumped right from the ground to the glass bottle.
“See this, kids? This was given to me by nine-time arm wrestling champion Alan Bown,” Green said. “Alan drove a truck in North Dakota, Oklahoma and Texas for five years. He saw the world, met new people and defended his arm wrestling title the whole time.”
Petro Pros is a program run by the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board (OERB), which engages with schools throughout Oklahoma. The volunteers of Petro Pros use rocks, fossils, drill bits and maps to demonstrate how oil and natural gas are formed, discovered and produced.
OERB educates children with Petro Pros and other educational programs. Since 2005, the people of Oklahoma oil and natural gas have provided nearly $5 million in scholarships. The goal of the program is to invest in young people, industry and the state.
Funded by the more than 2,500 producers and thousands of royalty owners across Oklahoma through a voluntary one-tenth of one percent assessment on oil and natural gas production, OERB’s mission is centered around a simple idea: Empowering unlimited opportunity for all Oklahomans.
If you would like to be your own version of a Champion in Energy and create strong minds, OERB is always looking for dedicated oil and natural gas professionals to volunteer their time to teach kids of all ages about various aspects of the industry. The organization provides volunteers with the necessary training and materials and will coordinate class appearances.
To learn more, visit OERB.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance on volunteering in energy education and awareness.
Jason Spiess is a multi-award-winning journalist, entrepreneur and content consultant. Spiess has over 30 years of media experience in broadcasting, journalism, reporting and principal ownership in media companies. Spiess has also worked as a guest correspondent for a number of local and global news organizations from 660 KEYZ-AM Williston to CNBC to the BBC World. Spiess is a full-time father, cancer survivor, environmentalist, author, North Dakota nomad and graduate of North Dakota State University.
*Johnny Green is a character played by Jason Spiess (in photos) and others for educational purposes in energy engagement and information.
Headline Photo: Green makes public appearances at schools, parades and county fairs with The Earth’s Championship Belt.
Reprint from OILMAN Magazine – January/February 2023
Jason Spiess is a multimedia journalist, entrepreneur and content consultant. Spiess has over 25 years of media experience in broadcasting, journalism, reporting and principal ownership in media companies. (Over 30 years experience if you count his adolescent years as a newspaper delivery boy learning the importance and logistics of daily distribution and monthly door-to-door bill collecting.) Spiess has worked in the areas of oil and gas, UAS and precision agriculture, health care, cannabis, agriculture, real estate, government affairs and economic development. Spiess is the host of two radio programs, Building the Bakken and Coffee & Capitalism, and three specialty programs, MonDak OilField Review, Corporate Ink and UnStuck, that carry a radio network that spans five states and two countries. Spiess is a North Dakota native and graduated from North Dakota State University.