Welcome readers, youth eco-activists, nature explorers, and budding totem mages to the Totem Magic website!
Yes, that was me (the big nature dude) dancing on the California Conservation Corps’ viral video. Leonard Patton, Antwon McCoy and I danced many times together after that video was recorded. I think dancing is a great way to connect to one another. You should try it if you haven’t already!!!And you can watch that video again or one of my many other videos featuring corps members on my youtube page: http://www.youtube.com/user/TotemMagicGoingMAD?feature=mhee
I was inspired to write Totem Magic: Going MAD for kids ten and up for a few different reasons. The first one that comes to mind is that I am very concerned for the state of our natural world and especially the endangered species we share it with. Totem Magic: Going MAD weaves a fast-paced and fun story around the grim phenomena of climate change, habitat destruction, and endangered species by edu-taining you with real and imaginary environmental solutions and attitudes in a fictional world where endangered species have their own magical protectors (totem mages).
I also wrote this book after noticing that many of the youth I work with aren’t connected to nature in a way that promotes compassion and stewardship. This “disconnected from nature” phenomenon was given a name by a sharp observer named Richard Louv. He called it nature deficient disorder (NDD). NDD is a modern affliction caused by the indoor childhood epidemic. In other words, kids are spending more time than ever indoors—in front of electronic screens—and less time outdoors exploring and playing in nature. The more I work with the victims of an indoor childhood, the more I want to inspire them to make discoveries in nature and enjoy free-play outdoors in a way similar to my own fun and adventurous childhood. So I decided to mitigate NDD by engaging youth out in nature through my work with the California Conservation Corps and by doing some creative storytelling.
Another reason I wrote Totem Magic: Going MAD was because it became obvious to me that the “wildlife conservation community” is not nearly as ethnically and economically diverse as the neighborhood I grew up in and the world around us. ALL people should have access to and be engaged with nature! ALL people should be guardians of the wild! It will take EVERYONE to save our planet from the catastrophic species extinction event that we are currently experiencing. The characters in Totem Magic: Going MAD look a lot like the diverse group of youth that I work with in the CCC. That’s what makes Totem Magic: Going MAD a multicultural eco-fantasy: the character makeup looks like ALL of us. ALL types of people in my story are fighting to save ALL of nature. But…unlike us, all my characters are using pretty bizarre magic to do it.
I am donating the profits from my book to groups that help the youth in their communities get access to organic food and playtime outdoors, to wildlife care centers, and groups that promote ethnic/racial diversity within the conservation movement. It makes me very happy to do this, and these dedicated groups need lots of donations to keep doing their great work! During the first six months, I split all the profits from sales of my book three ways among: the California Conservation Corps Foundation (www.cccfoundation.net), the Hawaii Wildlife Center (hawaiiwildlifecenter.org), and The Save Lucy the Bat Campaign (savelucythebat.org). Please check out these three wonderful organizations so you can see how the profits from Totem Magic: Going MAD are being used to help make the world a better place! For the second round of donations, I have chosen The Center for Diversity and the Environment (www.environmentaldiversity.org), The Ojai Raptor Center (www.ojairaptorcenter.org ), and the California Conservation Corps Foundation (www.cccfoundation.net) . Help me donate big to these three groups by purchasing a book today and spreading the word about Totem Magic: Going MAD. In December 2012, I will pick three new organizations to donate my profits to for the following six months. Suggestions are welcome if you know of an awesome organization that is doing this type of work. Keep in mind that whatever group you suggest must be a non-profit and fulfill at least one of the following criteria:
- They rescue and care for wildlife (wildlife centers) or…
- Promote ethnic/racial diversity within the conservation movement or…
- Educate youth about endangered species and how to save them or…
- Create access and opportunities for kids to go outside and explore nature (especially urban kids).
My hope is that by reading about magical protectors of endangered species (totem mages), kids will want to go outside to explore nature and become guardians of the wild. The more copies of my book I can sell, the larger the donations I can make to wonderful groups who show compassion for nature. So, please, help me get the word out there about Totem Magic: Going MAD! I hope you enjoy reading about the adventures of Vulchy and Connie, and that you become inspired to learn about their totem animals: the turkey vulture and mountain lion. And who knows, maybe after reading it you will realize that you are a totem mage, too! If so, what is your totem animal?
Stay tuned for future reports on this blog that are posted during the first week of each month. Click on “blog” on the tool bar above to read past entries. And visit my book’s Facebook page at facebook.com/TotemMagicGoingMAD
Totem Magic: Going MAD is available in many forms!
You can order it at ANY bookstore by name or ISBN number: 9781604946819.
Thanks for being part of this “MAD” and magical effort to learn about and save endangered species! See you outdoors!