Paul Fleischman gives young people a different set of tools for improving their world in Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines. He suggests that we first need to be aware of the world around us and how it's changing, evaluate it and, if we have concerns, figure out how to be proactive.
As a poet (and Newbery winner for Joyful Noise), Fleischman has always been a close observer of the world around him and, like many other poets, found inspiration in nature. So when he begins to find dead bees in his driveway with somewhat alarming frequency, he begins to investigate. What was the cause, and what, if anything, could he do to help?
He points interested readers to further resources, organizations and most importantly tools for evaluating information--what is the source of these statistics? Does the writer have an agenda (lobbying group, public relations firm)? These ideas are valuable in any context, but especially if students feel passionately enough to get involved. After they observe a situation and decide they want to help, where can their talents and efforts best be used?
The ideas here apply not just to causes near and dear to readers, but also to how they live their lives.