It has been a year since I left the Ivory Tower for the Wizard’s Tower. In July 2012 I finished a career of two decades as Yale’s recycling coordinator. Although I miss the worthy work of ensuring 21,000 Yalies recycle all they can, I embrace the more magical life of an environmental magician and educator. The “magic” goes beyond the increase in magic shows, tricks and the small wonders you might expect in the life of a full-time magician. Some of the best sorcery in my magical life has been that of increased sustainability on personal and planetary levels.
Some highlights of this year’s sorcery can be shared in a quick summary. Since July 2013 I have created 5 new magic shows (see below), performed in Las Vegas, created two environmental PSA videos in concert with magician-film maker Jordan Wright, performed in historic Lyric Hall, and was keynote speaker at the first ever sustainability luncheon for community leaders in Gastonia, North Carolina. I even “vanished” my carbon footprint (see earlier blog entry). All of these made for a very busy and very fulfilling year.
Some aspects of this magical year are hard to capture in a summary, however. By working at home I spent more time with wife and children. I was no longer a visitor to the rhythms of my home but a more intimate partner in them. I collected chicken eggs, tended to dogs and helped with chores and childcare. These extra dances during the day hurt my productivity, but helped to heal a soul separated from family too often by 22 years of office work.
Some of this sustainable sorcery is growing beyond what even I had hoped to conjure. Like a successful “Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” I am delighted to see my endeavors to use magic for environmental education growing in all the right ways. I have worked with educators to develop programs using magic to cover mandated recycling issues in public schools. I have trained environmental professionals on how to use magic to strengthen their messages on sustainability.
These various and valuable efforts are now taking shape in the large umbrella of a new program: Message Through Magic. In addition to teaching environmental issues through magic shows, Message Through Magic cross trains magicians, environmental educators and youth to use magicians’ skills in conveying their own messages. Staff at Yale University’s Peabody Museum share in the enthusiasm and are helping to grow the program. As a magician I can pull a coin or two out of the air. To make this dream of environmental education through magic come true, however, takes the greater magic of team work, administration and support.
Please offer your thoughts and suggestions on how to expand and support Message Through Magic. Please let me know if you would like to see a copy of the current proposal. In so many of our popular modern films and novels, magic is the key to saving the day. I feel Message Through Magic is a real-world example of this. Message Through Magic will enable others, as well as myself, to deliver important messages to audiences far and wide. Your suggestions will help us make this magic happen. What topics, partners, events and venues should be a part of Message Through Magic?
New Magic Shows Since Summer 2012
- Little Fairies Big Magic – a whimsical story of tricksy fairies teaches the importance of preserving wild lands.
- The Magic of Hanukkah – the story and the traditions of this magical holiday told through magic.
- MAGITRICITY – a show on energy and climate change developed in concert with the “Seasons of Change” exhibit at Yale’s Peabody Museum.
- Magic of Water – Following a larger pilot project I stripped this down to a very quick and portable “commando” show, performable outdoors.
- Secret of the Dusty Castle – a fairytale adventure which teaches the basics of lead poisoning prevention.