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Building Blocks of Citizenship: 50 Ways to Be a More Engaged, Active Citizen This Year

Even for the human race, we are newborns when it comes to citizenship.

Even for the human race, we are newborns when it comes to citizenship. Our notion of citizenship was born out of the 18th century—if human history were plotted out on a calendar that would make the citizen’s birthday December 31 at 11:59 p.m. and 59 seconds. In the scheme of things, we’re newcomers to the very notion of citizenship.


And we’re not exactly working overtime to catch up.

While we routinely spend our entire lives becoming good family members and our adulthood becoming good parents, when it comes to being good citizens, we’re stuck in a prolonged infancy.

That’s why we’ll be sharing essays, reports, and provocations over the next 50 weeks to reinforce 50 key building blocks to citizenship. Play around with them, experiment, stack them up, DO them—hopefully, by the end, we'll have learned to walk.

Citizen Building Block #1: Consume Local News

Citizen Building Block #2: Champion a Pet Issue

Citizen Building Block #3: Commit 1 Percent of Your Time to Service

Citizen Building Block #4: Measure Your Carbon Footprint

Citizen Building Block #5: Get a Library Card

Citizen Building Block #6: Give Blood

Citizen Building Block #7: Get a Passport

Citizen Building Block #8: Be an (Un)Simple Pilgrim

Citizen Building Block #9: Become a Member of a Cultural Institution

Citizen Building Block #10: Take an Alternate Route

Citizen Building Block #11: Learn to Cook a Dish With a Story

Citizen Building Block #12: Plant a Guerrilla Garden

Citizen Building Block #13: Learn About Your Town's Sister Cities

Citizen Building Block #14: Collect and Share Your Neighbors' Contact Info

Citizen Building Block #15: Get to Know Your Local Police

Citizen Building Block #16: Learn About Your Local History

Citizen Building Block #17: Take Public Transportation

Citizen Building Block #18: Try Biking to Work

Citizen Building Block #19: Walk 30 Minutes a Day

Citizen Building Block #20: Reduce Your Waste, Starting with a Reusable Cup

Citizen Building Block #21: Go to Your Local Park

Citizen Building Block #22: Become an Upcycler

Citizen Building Block #23: Create a Map of Your Neighborhood

Citizen Building Block #24: Take a Staycation

Citizen Building Block #25: Take a First Aid Class

Citizen Building Block #26: Support Local Businesses

Citizen Building Block #27: Be in Touch with Your Local Leaders

This post is part of the GOOD community's 50 Building Blocks of Citizenship. Follow along, join the discussion, and share your experience at #goodcitizen.

Illustration by Jessica De Jesus

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