C.J. May is the recycling coordinator for the city of Waterbury, Connecticut. But that’s not the only role he plays to help the environment.

“I wear several different hats, and one of them is indeed a wizard hat,” he says.

In his alter ego as Cyril the Sorcerer, May uses magic to teach kids about environmental issues such as climate change. For example, he performs a routine that helps children understand how various sources of energy affect the climate.

First, he pulls a short rope out of a toy wind turbine. Then he pulls a long rope out of a toy oil drum, and an even longer rope out of a pretend lump of coal. He explains that the length of the ropes represents how much carbon pollution each energy source generates.

Then, using sleight of hand, he makes all three ropes the same size, and tells the kids that electricity from each source works equally well.

May says that magic can grab people’s attention in a way that facts and figures often do not.

And while he has kids’ attention, he makes sure they understand that climate change is serious, but there are solutions, and everyone can make a difference.

“Magic shows us that even in the darkest of times, when we’re confronting a global crisis,” he says, “we can do some amazing things when we put our minds to it.”

Reporting credit: Jan Ellen Spiegel and Stephanie Manuzak/ChavoBart Digital Media.