Category Archives: News

News about environmental-magic-related events, important developments in science and communities around the environment.

Environmental Magic at Austin Earth Day

by Chris Walden

Austin Earth Day Festival 2015 logo

April 22, 2015 marks the 45 annual Earth Day. Begun in 1970, this even is a focus on environmental concerns around the world. Because everybody’s working for the weekend, a lot of the celebrations are happening a little early, with many activities happening over this weekend.

Photo of the Envrionmental Magic Kit box

I will be performing Environmental Magic as part of the Austin Earth Day celebration at 3:40 PM on the Kid’s stage. (For some reason they chose to use my Facebook picture with zombies behind me.) The show will feature some items from the Environmental Magic Kit, as well as some of my personal routines about environmental responsibility.  Shows like this happen for me on a couple of levels. First, there is the performance, sharing important messages about simple actions and ideas to manage waste, consumption and pollution. Beyond that, I’m showing educators and others who need to share this information the impact magic can have on these presentations. I’m looking forward to the new connections that I’ll make.

We’ve come a long way since 1970. I remember, as a kid, that there were many people who thought nothing of throwing their fast food trash out the window of the car as they drove along the highway. I remember watching people discarding garbage on the ground as they walked along. Now, that sort of behavior is not accepted. Of course, we still have a ways to go, as we learn how to have a thriving society of humans in harmony with other areas of nature. Science and technology are helping, as we discover new, less impactful approaches to packaging and doing what we need to do. History is also helpful, as we rediscover methods (like taking your own container to the store to buy bulk items) that use less resource and create less waste.

My involvement in this project for the last (Is it really?) 23 years has personally affected my awareness and habits. I hope that my performance today plants some seeds and sparks some new thinking, both for young people and those who teach them.

Come see me if you can! I’ll post photos if I can.

Chris Walden

A cool (or is that warm) idea for reuse

by Chris Walden

Photo of solar heater, a plexiglas box filled with black soda cans on a rolling frame
Version 2 of the solar heater uses more cans. It’s portable and doesn’t look so bad.

Someone pointed me to this excellent project on Hemmings Daily called “almost free garage heat – just drink a lot of soda.” Daniel Strohl used soda cans with some wood and hosing to create a radiator for his garage. The sun heats the cans and exhausts warm air. He also made a second version with more cans, which transfers more heat.

These kinds of projects aren’t necessarily as shiny as some of the high-tech things we see commercially, but they give an idea of what is possible and how a little ingenuity can let you turn trash into treasure…and comfort!

Renewable Energy Roundup in Belton

by Chris Walden

Chris and Kent at Renewable Energy Roundup & Sustainable Living Expo 2014

When Kent and I started our collaboration on Environmental Magic in 1994 we never imagined that it would keep us together for more than two decades. What an amazing journey! This weekend, as we attend and present at the Renewable Energy Roundup & Sustainable Living Expo 2014, it is still as exciting and filled with opportunities as when we began.

The interesting thing about sustainability (or “thrivability” as someone suggested to us…more on that at a later time) is that it isn’t just one thing. Needs and concerns have changed significantly since we began. Technology has evolved and things that were improbable have become reality. As all of these things change the stories change and the ways that we tell them change.

Kent and I will be telling our story of Teaching Environmental Magic (2:15 PM i the Red Speaking area). But we are also learning and connecting with all of the amazing people who do their part to help our society solve our environmental challenges.

We hope to see you there!