Paul Fleischman offers teens an environmental wake-up call and a tool kit for decoding the barrage of conflicting information confronting them.
We're living in an Ah-Ha moment. Take 250 years of human ingenuity. Add abundant fossil fuels. The result: a population and lifestyle never before seen. The downsides weren't visible for centuries, but now they are. Suddenly everything needs rethinking – suburbs, cars, fast food, cheap prices. It's a changed world.
This book explains it. Not with isolated facts, but the principles driving attitudes and events, from vested interests to denial to big-country syndrome. Because money is as important as molecules in the environment, science is joined with politics, history, and psychology to provide the briefing needed to comprehend the 21st century.
Extensive back matter, including a glossary, bibliography, and index, as well as numerous references to websites, provides further resources.
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|Age Range:||14 Years|
About the Author
“Step into the wood-shingled house I grew up in, and into the past. You find us gathered in the living room, listening to my writer father, Sid Fleischman, reading his latest chapter aloud. Outside, the breeze off the Pacific, ten blocks away, streams through the fruit trees my parents have planted and rustles the cornfield in our front yard — the only cornfield in all of Santa Monica, California.”
Scant surprise that Paul Fleischman grew up to write Weslandia, about a grammar-school misfit who founds a new civilization in his suburban backyard, built around a mysterious wind-sown plant. A taste for nonconformity and a love of the plant world run through many of his books, including Animal Hedge, in which a father uses a clipped shrub to guide his sons in choosing their careers.
“My mother plays piano, my father classical guitar. From upstairs that evening comes the entrancing sound of my sisters playing a flute duet. The house resounds with Bach, Herb Alpert, Dodgers games, and Radio Peking coming from my shortwave radio.”
From that musical, multitrack upbringing came Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices, winner of the Newbery Medal, and Big Talk, its sequel for a quartet of speakers. It’s also the source of the author’s madcap play, Zap, a theatrical train wreck of seven simultaneous plays, the result of a stage company’s attempt to compete with TV.
“My father’s interest in things historical has led to the purchase of a hand printing press. We’ve all learned to set type. I have my own business, printing stationery for my parents’ friends. I read type catalogs along with Dylan Thomas and Richard Brautigan.”
History has informed many of Paul’s books, from the colonial settings of his Newbery Honor book Graven Images, inspired by his years living in a two-hundred-year-old house in New Hampshire, to the newly updated Dateline: Troy, which juxtaposes the Trojan War story with strikingly similar newspaper clippings from World War I to the Iraq War.
“An old issue of Mad magazine sits on a table, along with a copy of the Daily Sun-Times and Walnut, the satiric underground paper I started with two friends, which landed us in the dean’s office today—again.”
What better education for the future author of A Fate Totally Worse Than Death, a wicked parody of teen horror novels,? Or for the visual humor of Sidewalk Circus, a wordless celebration of how much more children see than their elders?
“Thirty-five years later, I still draw on Bach, living-room theater, the look of letters on a page, and still aspire to the power of a voice coming from a radio late at night in a pitch-black room.”
Table of Contents
Optical Illusions 2
The Essential 8
My Town/Your Town 22
Vested Interests 28
Common Sense 34
Out of Sight 40
In the Now 46
Backstory: The Oil Embargo 50
Defense Mechanisms 54
Backstory: Ozone 84
Science to the Rescue 88
Never Retreat 94
No Limits 102
Losing Control 108
Backstroy: Kyoto 114
Eyes Abroad and Ahead 118
Coming Soon 142
How to Weight Information 154
Source Notes 158
Suggested Resources 181
Image Credits 191
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Imagine a world where the planet is slowly wearing away, falling apart. There are all kinds of natural disasters: hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis. The water is slowly creeping in to take over the land. Other places are missing water. The air is virtually unbreathable. It’s polluted and dirty and very unhealthy. You want to get away from it, but there’s nowhere to go. It is air. It is life. It is all around you. It is essential. Now guess what. This is the world you’re living in. Eyes Wide Open is written by a man named Paul Fleishman who starts off the book by saying he lives in a town in California that is so small that it doesn’t even merit a traffic light. Just a few years earlier, Fleishman didn’t know a whole lot about the stuff he talks about in his book. His curiosity started with a dead bee. Because of that, he walks you through Eyes Wide Open. He’s very careful about what you may or may not know, but it’s not dumbed down either. There’s a glossary in the back, too, for any words he’s underlined that you might not know. He gives you a good rundown of the topics he wants to cover, and then gives you the option of finding out more information in side notes with websites, book titles, and pictures. Eyes Wide Open is full of fun pictures! As basic as Fleishman is in Eyes Wide Open, it seems to me he didn’t just talk about the earth and the environment, trying to guilt you into caring more and doing something, like you might think, or maybe like other things you’ve read. It’s obvious he wants you to do something, and that something is to be aware. He’s trying to literally open your eyes. And not just about the environment, but everything-the food you eat, the world you live in, the information you’re told. A lot of things in this world are deceiving. Eyes Wide Open seems like the perfect book for someone who doesn’t know a whole lot about the environment. I thought it was pleasantly ironic that I heard about solar roadways while I was reading this book. Solar roadways sound amazing. I hope Paul would approve. I liked how the book didn’t just focus on America and what we can and are doing, but it focused on parts of the world you might not know too much about like India and China. We’re all tied. Everything you do affects someone else, whether it be environmentally or otherwise. Keep your eyes open and see.