How To be an Informed Citizen

Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

Quote from Margaret Mead. Watercolor by Karen Kerney. SCW©2000



This watercolor hangs on our office door, each day reminding us of the task we are called to- be the light, forge through. Change begins with us.

There are many ways and reasons to be an active and informed citizen. Here are a few ideas.

1. Vary your news: Learn what many, not one, think of an issue and how they approach it.

2. Watch the parodies…this is not all work and no play. This helps in looking at an issue with a critical eye. In fact, it is estimated that 1 in 3 people under the age of forty in the US utilizes this resource.

3. Sign up for a few e-alerts. Once you are aware of certain issues, take a step further, and sign up for action alerts. Are you against Mountain Top Removal Mining or Hunger? Great, 1 quick Google search and you’ll find fantastic ways to send 30 second letters to legislators.  (Some of my favorites are  IPJC; Food and Water Watch)

4. Find an economist you love. No kidding. You don’t need to be them, but if you resonate with their analysis,you can use them as a trusted source and aid you in comprehending complex issues. (Even better when you love someone that your friend & colleague may not, because it will commonly lead to rich conversation, as I have seen!)

5. Be uncomfortable. Of course its hard. But there is much wisdom in this tidbit. Go speak to someone at a rally, even if you aren’t participating. Ask someone their opinion of a news item. Watch something that pushes you out of your comfort zone. Seek the uncomfortable, and you will learn even more.

6. Decide for yourself. At the end of the day, you make the decision for you. I.E. Do you think that a comment was taken out of context, or reflective of their mindframe? It is helpful to take in other ideas and resources, but ultimately, it’s your choice.

Expanding your mind takes action. Do it.

One response

  1. Hey!
    Your number “1” made me glad that I watch channel 7 news AND the PBS news hour. If people want varied news, they should watch CNN (liberal) AND FOXNEWS (conservative).

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