5 Ways to Prove You’re a Good Citizen of a Country

Being a good citizen is more than paying your taxes and voting every once in a while – it’s also about contributing to your community, learning the laws of your city or country, and just generally being an involved member of society. To prove you’re a good citizen of the country you live in, keep an eye out for these five ways to prove you’re a good citizen of your country.

Image by Aslı Pelit  Public Domain

1) Care about your Environment

Think about your country’s needs, and don’t contribute to environmental destruction. Your efforts may seem small, but it adds up. Clean up after yourself, separate your trash for recycling, buy local goods, and reduce/reuse where you can. When making purchases consider how that product was made and how much energy was used in production. A movement is sweeping across America: people who don’t want their food shipped thousands of miles from farm to table are building gardens at home or buying locally grown foods from farmers’ markets or Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs that bring weekly boxes of fresh produce directly from farms straight to consumers’ doorsteps.

Take ownership of your environment and recycle. There are two key things you can do in terms of recycling: reduce what you have to recycle and recycle it properly. To help curb excess, take stock of all items in your home that require some form of recycling, especially plastic products. Before throwing something away, ask yourself if there’s a chance it could be reused or repurposed first. At most supermarkets, you can also bring your own bag or other containers to collect items at checkout so they don’t get thrown away at all.

Don’t litter. The majority of litter is either non-biodegradable or biodegradable but not recycled because there isn’t a recycling program nearby. Recycling will have a huge impact on cleanliness in your city, so consider speaking with local officials about getting one started in your area. If they say no, think about getting involved with Clean Up Australia Day — held each year on March 2 — and doing it yourself. To help protect wildlife and prevent forest fires, put garbage where animals can’t get at it: indoors, or in specially designed bins such as bear-proof trash cans or dumpsters that are bear-resistant or have been approved by conservation agencies.

Recycle, conserve and protect your environment. Every little bit you do helps make your country cleaner and better for generations to come. But no matter how small or big an action is, it’s important to ask yourself if it’s one that would be considered good citizenship. Be mindful of how you spend your time, too: if all your actions are thoughtful toward others, then you should feel comfortable with calling yourself a good citizen. What’s more, living up to the ideals and standards set by citizenship — such as exercising freedom under the law — will help foster equality across classes or groups in any country by eliminating biases or prejudices that harm others.


2) Speak Up When You See Something Wrong

Let’s face it: politicians aren’t always going to do what’s right for their citizens. And we all have limits when it comes to our own activism. But if you see something happening that shouldn’t say something—even if you have no clue how it will fix whatever injustice is in front of you. Nothing ever got better without someone who saw what was wrong and spoke up about it. And nothing ever got worse without people who did so either.

Speak up when you see something wrong. It’s as simple as that. If you witness an injustice, say something. It can be hard to get involved at times, but it’s almost always worth it. We are fortunate to live in a society where we’re usually free to state our opinions without repercussions, so make sure you take advantage of that freedom when you see something wrong and speak up about it!

And remember, you don’t have to be an activist or an expert. Don’t think you have all of your facts in order. Just say something when you see something wrong! If everyone did so, who knows what we could accomplish.  The future is waiting for us—all we need to do is get involved and speak up about it. Hear This, Politicians: Your job isn’t just to serve your own interests—it’s also to serve those of your constituents.

We live in a democracy, which means that our representatives are elected by us (the people) and should therefore listen to our needs. It doesn’t always work out that way—which is why it’s important for us citizens to voice our opinions and take action on issues that matter most. Democracy can only function if we stay informed and keep talking about important issues such as healthcare reform, gun control, and civil rights!


3) Don’t Gossip About Politics

One of our favorite historical figures, Benjamin Franklin, once said: When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary. If you want your descendants to be able and willing to have good political discussions when they take part in their first democratic elections, you must model good behavior by staying informed about what’s going on in your government. If you want your children (or anyone else) to act like grown-ups—be one yourself. Show them what it looks like.

Your political education doesn’t have to be restricted to serious discussions with educated, informed people. Being informed about politics is one thing, but gossiping about politics on social media can also improve your reputation and your commitment as a citizen. Just like gossip in real life, most political memes you see online don’t change minds or stop corruption; they mainly just reinforce existing opinions and keep us divided against each other. As long as you know that’s what they do—and you post memes responsibly—gossiping about politics can be good for your reputation as a good citizen in democratic societies.

That said, political memes are not just for fun. They can be used for more serious means than self-satisfaction as well, like making people think about hot political topics that get buried in mainstream media—the US election campaign could tell you something about that. While it’s good to have some critical distance from your government and your local politics, don’t forget to get involved too: if you think your democracy needs improving or that your society could do better when it comes to race or gender equality, there’s a good chance others feel just as strongly. If you want real change in politics and society, talk with those who share your opinions and work together.

And if you really want your children (or anyone else) to act like grown-ups, remember that you’ve got more influence than you realize. People might gossip about politics all day long, but those who do it actually have far less power and political agency than we think: If you don’t do politics yourself, nothing will change. But if you engage in some form of political engagement—even just voting every four years—you can be part of influencing how your society works. And by being a good citizen and setting an example for others, you can show your kids (and anyone else who will listen) what it means to be an informed person in our world today.


4) Vote For People Who Are Responsible

The biggest vote you’ll make each year is for the people who represent you in government. Some candidates will act like they’re made up of all good things, but don’t be fooled. There are many elected officials out there that have nothing to show for their time in office but ruined reputations and bad ideas. To prove you’re a good citizen, support those politicians that always take responsibility for their actions, not just during elections but throughout their term in office.

If you’re looking for people who are responsible in your country, look no further than those who already represent you. Vote them back into office if they did their job well and didn’t dodge questions or throw anyone under the bus. Alternatively, if you see someone with a reputation for being irresponsible, don’t give them your vote. After all, voting is one of your most important duties as a citizen and it deserves serious consideration each time around. Be sure to educate yourself on candidates before election day arrives so you can make an informed decision about who gets your support.

Learn from those who came before you: Good citizenship is often something that can be passed down from generation to generation. Whether it’s wisdom about current events or family history, sharing your knowledge and experience with others is a great way to instill confidence in them and show them what it means to be responsible. If you have kids or nieces and nephews, being an example for them can help teach values like responsibility when they are still young. Teach by example so they know how important it is not only to do well in school but also to live ethically. Remember that what you teach today may very well come back to influence your own children tomorrow!

Learn from those who came before you: Sometimes, your responsibility as a citizen goes beyond casting your vote or taking action on social media. What if you see something unethical happening in your community that you know needs addressing? Take it upon yourself to take action and show that you’re not going to stand for bad behavior. If someone is doing something illegal, like littering, speak up and let them know how important it is for everyone else in your neighborhood. People need an example of how good citizens act so be sure to step up when someone isn’t living up to their civic duties!


5) Don’t Cheat The System

In many countries, voting is compulsory. Failing to vote may result in you being fined or even having your car impounded. People are encouraged to have their say – it’s an integral part of participating in democracy. Vote! Whatever your political views, votes are cast and counted so that governments can be made accountable for their decisions. It’s easy enough just to tick a box but if you want to prove you’re a good citizen of your country and help keep it running smoothly, go online before voting day and check that you are eligible and where you need to go on election day itself.

Governments are always trying new initiatives and offering incentives to stimulate local economies, protect jobs and create social cohesion. From time to time, you will see politicians try to sell their policies with an eye-catching, one-size-fits-all slogan. The problem is that no one really knows if they actually work or not. Don’t fall for feel-good slogans! Do your own research and find out how effective any initiative will be before you commit your vote and trust in them with your money.

If you want to prove that you are a good citizen, make sure you stick to your country’s traffic laws. This is especially important if there is an upcoming election and politicians want your vote. Don’t speed, don’t use your mobile phone while driving, don’t drive aggressively or jump red lights, and do wear your seatbelt at all times.

Police will be on high alert during an election period as many leaders seem to think that speeding and jumping red lights can somehow make them look like strong leaders even though it does just the opposite! It’s always embarrassing for politicians when they get caught breaking these laws so I guess that’s why we see so many campaigns about not doing it in an effort to keep their shame private.



Despite our political differences, we can all agree that good citizenship is important. If you want to be considered a good citizen of your country, there are certain things you can do and avoid doing. These tips will help you show people that you really care about your home country. Before long, more people will consider you an asset than anything else! Keep your home clean: Nothing screams good citizen like keeping one’s home clean. Whether it’s throwing away litter on public property or taking out the trash in apartment buildings, keep cleanliness in mind at all times—your community will appreciate it!

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