9 minutes reading time (1859 words)
How to Be a Good Citizen
Good citizens are actively involved in their community and in the betterment of their fellow citizens. They take pride in where they live and strive to make it a better place. We all want to be known as a good citizen, and with a little thought and effort, anyone can be one
Part 1 of 3: Helping Your Community
1 Get a good education. One of the best things you can do to help your community is to get a good education. When you're well educated, you can get better jobs and contribute more to the economy. You can also be better informed and make good decisions when it comes to voting and other civic activities. Pay attention in school, get good grades, and try to go to college.
2 Work hard. No matter what job you have, working hard is an important part of being a good citizen. When you work hard, you provide services to others and you earn money, both of which contribute to a stronger economy in your area.
- If you find yourself unemployed, seek out your local unemployment office for help in finding a new job. Googling "unemployment office" and the same of your state should bring up the information, if you don't know it
3 Stay up-to-date on the news. Read the news and stay fully informed on issues that affect you, your area, and the rest of the country. And the word "fully" is key here: listen to what people say on both sides of the party line and try to stay impartial. Most issues are very complex and go beyond the basic black and white of party politics.
- Get involved in planning processes too. Have your say in whether new supermarkets, box stores and housing estates have their place in your corner of the world. Find out what environment, social and health benefits these projects promise for the local community (beyond the profit motives) and speak with your representative and at city council meetings to let them know what you think.
4 Share your good fortune. When you do well enough that you have extra time, money, or items, give back to your community by paying that good fortune forward. There are lots of great ways that you can help your community:
- Volunteer. You can volunteer with local branches of organizations that mean a lot to you. Try Habitat for Humanity, which build homes for the less fortunate, or Big Brothers Big Sisters, which provides mentorship to at-risk youth.
- Help the homeless . You can volunteer at a local soup kitchen or shelter to help homeless people stay safe and healthy.
- Donate. You can donate your money to lots of organizations, local, national, and international. Just be sure that whoever you donate to is a good organization that uses their money well. Many charities do not and are really just a money factory for the people that run them. Try using Charity Navigator or the BBB to find out if the organization you want to help is really on the up and up.
5 Donate blood and plasma Blood and plasma. are vital bodily fluids that are used to save the lives of thousands and thousands of people each day. There are often shortages, so it's great if you do your part and donate. If you have a rare blood type, you can literally be the difference between life and death for someone in your community.
- Donating blood and plasma is especially important when there's been a major crisis. Massive numbers of injuries often result in serious blood shortages.
6 Get emergency training. Get trained in CPR and First Aid, as well as other emergency training like disaster preparedness training, so that you can help your fellow citizens when an emergency arises. If you've had this training before, it's a good idea to do it again every few years. This helps you too keep those skills fresh. It's easy to forget them when you're under pressure!
7 Create jobs. Create the opportunity to work whenever you can. Hire and fairly pay someone to cut your lawn or paint your house. Hire a maid every few months. This contributes to the economy and gives a job to someone who is often very much in need.
- Contact your local homeless shelter about finding workers there. Oftentimes, homeless people are simply regular folks who ran on hard times and the small amount of money they earn from your job can be enough to help them get back on their feet.
8 Stay healthy. It's important to take care of your body and stay as healthy as possible. When you get sick, you put others at risk and you take up valuable space in doctor's offices and hospitals that could go towards someone else. Exercise, eat right, and make sure you stay current on all your shots.
- If you need help with exercise or eating healthy , wikiHow can help.
- With many vaccine preventable childhood diseases on the rise, it may be a good idea to update yours. You aren't yourself at risk, as an adult, but the unvaccinated children around you are.
Part 2 of 3: Being Civically Active
1 Vote. The most important thing you can do as a citizen is vote. It's easy to forget or feel disinterested and only vote during the really major elections, but it's very important to vote in every election you can. Running the country goes beyond which party is currently in power. You also need to vote for your direct representatives, who often play a much more major role in what changes happen in the country.
- It's also important to vote in local elections. At the state and county level, you'll often vote on things like transportation initiatives, which can affect how people get to work, and other important laws and measures that affect your area.
2 Serve on jury duty. Jury duty is no fun, but it's vital to maintain a functional judicial system (at least in the US). When good people like yourself pass on jury duty, it often leaves a lot of people who do jury duty for the wrong reasons or who really won't care or and pay attention. When your number is up, take on the challenge and serve your country in your own way.
3 Contact your representative about issues that matter to you. When there are issues that matter to you, it's very important to contact your representative and tell them what you think. Even if you're too young to vote or you didn't vote for them, they still represent you and it's important for them to stay in touch with what people really believe.
- If you don't know how to contact your representative or who your representative is, you can go to the official website here to find out.
4 Volunteer at elections time. When elections do happen, extra help is often needed to make sure that everyone's vote gets counted. You can volunteer with the elections office or your preferred party and help man voting stations, count votes, and fill other support roles.
Part 3 of 3: Protecting Your City's Future
1 Recycle. Recycle papers and plastics according to your city's recycling system. The recycling is often collected with the garbage, but in a separate container. You can find recyclable items by looking for the recycle symbol used by your country. Generally, most items made from paper and plastic can be recycled, so long as they don't contain food and are not covered in wax.
- Recycling helps cut down on waste that fills up landfills.
2 Compost. Compost leftover food and organic material to help keep down waste even further. Some cities collect compost, but otherwise you'll need to compost it yourself in your back yard.
- Items you can compost include leftover food, extra pieces of ingredients (like the leaves from carrots), and unbleached paper.
- Compost by collecting all of these items together in a large box outside. Turn the mixture every few weeks and add soil, until the whole thing looks like a single mixture. This can often take months.
- When the compost is done, it can be sold or it can be used to provide nutrients to your own yard or garden
3 Pick up litter. If you see trash lying around don't just stare at it and walk pass it. Try to make time once a month to go around your neighborhood and pick up all of the trash that you see. Just be sure to use a grabbing stick or gardening gloves, to prevent hurting yourself on something dangerous.
- You can also join city-wide groups that go around the city and pick up litter in the most affected areas. Contact your city hall to locate a group for your city.
4 Watch where and how you wash your car. The soaps used for washing cars are very destructive to the environment (often contaminating your drinking water!), so start by washing your car less often and washing your car yourself. When you do wash your car, use environmentally friendly products.
- At a minimum, move your car onto grass in order to wash it. This will help keep the chemicals out of your drinking water.
- Try to go waterless and simply clean your car with a green window or all-purpose cleaner.
5 Buy local produce. Buy your food from local farmers and food producers as much as possible. This will minimize the environmental impact of having to transport the food a long way, it helps ensure that your food is safe and free of dangerous chemicals or pests, and it contributes to your local economy.
- Food is often labeled with where it was produced. Look for products that are organic and as close to where you live as possible.
6 Conserve water. There is likely to be a significant water crisis in our lifetime, so conserve as much clean water as you can. While our planet is covered in water, only so much of it is drinkable and we use a lot of that for unnecessary things, like watering grass and taking extra long showers.
- If you want to water your lawn, use gray water (which is the water left over from preparing food or taking a shower).
- Take showers that last 10 minutes or less and wash your hair only every other day.
- Avoid having things like swimming pools, which take lots of water out of the system and make it undrinkable.
7 Conserve energy. Currently, many of the methods used to create energy to power our homes and devices are also very destructive to the environment. Try to use clean energy, by setting up solar panels, and conserve the energy you do use.
- Turn off lights in empty rooms.
- Spend less time on the computer and more time reading books.
8 Use public transportation. Skip on driving a car and instead take a bus. Not only will you help save the planet from the ravages of pollution, you'll also be helping to financially support public transit, which is vital to low-income households (who often don't own cars).