Author Laurel Neme tackles many big, global problems in her journalism about wildlife. You can see many of these issues on the website Mongabay.com and in National Geographic. She wrote about international crimes against wildlife in her adult book Animal Investigators and her recent picture book Orangutan Houdini profiles a real life orangutan whose behavior helped give new insight into how these primates think.
While the story of Orangutan Houdini doesn't deal directly with current threats to orangutans in the wild, Laurel does connect the story with these current issues when she speaks about the book. One particular problem is the loss of habitat due to palm oil production. She also addresses these topics in her Teacher's Guide to Orangutan Houdini (available on her website here).
One of the questions Laurel gets asked -- from students, teachers, and parents -- is "what can kids do?" if they're concerned about global issues like the ones discussed in her writing. Part of the answer is to connect with organizations dedicated to addressing whatever the particular cause may be. These organizations have resources dedicated to researching the problem and possible responses, as well as to coordinating campaigns with a global reach. They often offer "What Can I Do?" answers that cover a range of possible responses. For example, Laurel works with the Sumatran Orangutan Society on the palm oil issue.
We asked Laurel if she has good examples of kids and / or classes working on wildlife issues that she has come across in her recent work. She's got a lot of examples and sent us a few:
- Youth Action - Examples from Orangutan Outreach
- Profile of Allie Boyer as Orangutan Outreach Youth Ambassador, including information on Purses for Primates and the video she created that started her orangutan advocacy.
- Wired article on the Runescape (online multiplayer game) campaign for rhino
- In Hong Kong, Kids Take Action to Stop Illegal Ivory Trade
- A Young Voice for Elephants: Celia Ho
- Girl Scout Cookies & Palm Oil: Rhiannon Tomtishen and Madison Vorva
- Caretakers of the Environment - And international network of secondary school teachers and students
For other posts related to this event, check out this Q&A with Laurel and this list of recommended reading.