"Famous" wants us to look—long and hard—at what we often overlook. In contrast to the ways that modern society is often obsessed with superficial and unimportant elements of celebrity and the things we usually think of as being famous, Nye puts the focus on the natural world and the simple, everyday elements of life: cats and boots and buttonholes. A big part of the everyday, of course, is the natural world around us, and Nye devotes quite a bit of her poem to the earth and all its everyday-ness.
Man-made things like pulleys and buttonholes are more 'famous' than rivers and cats because they are tools developed for specific purposes, and we use them all the time.
Nature is more famous than man because nature can undo whatever man does.
We can't read Nye's "Famous" without feeling like she is reminding us that we should care less about the most recent celebrity divorce and more about how we could be helping the elderly widow across the street. On the other hand, it isn't as though Nye is scolding us. She's just gently reminding us that we can do a lot by doing just a little. Gee, maybe we should finally do that volunteer work for Habitat for Humanity we've been promising to do.
Humans are made famous by doing what they can, which primarily means being kind and good to one another.
Being ethical means fulfilling your function—the way that a pulley or a buttonhole does.
What is community? Perhaps it is just the place you live: as in "the community pool." But, community should be more than that, right? It is the intentional joining together of people (and objects) because they share something; and, hopefully, what they share is more than a zip code. Community is about belonging, interconnectivity, closeness, at least according to Nye in "Famous."
The speaker, who is clearly an adult, demonstrates the interconnectedness of the circle of life by talking about being kind to old men and children.
Nye is pointing out how corrupt our idea of fame is. The people we think of as famous couldn't be farther away from us, and what should really be famous is right close to home.
You can figure out a lot about a society if you know what its members deem to be famous. Do they focus on spectacular athletic feats? Are they obsessed with the courage demonstrated in a battle? Do they sing praises to the wise elders of the community? Do their monuments point to a fascination with nature, or their own accomplishments? "Famous" touches on both human societies and the 'society' of nature.
Nye is telling us all about the downsides of fame in this poem. It's predatory, as with the cat and the birds, and creates divisions (like those between the boots and the dress shoes).
The seventh stanza refers to society's obsession with celebrity, wherein people "love" certain celebrities, hang posters of them on their walls, obsessively research their lives, and generally feel as though they "know" the celebrity.