Many of us want to participate in tackling social problems, but are too overwhelmed by the enormity of the task to even begin. Those who do become involved often suffer burnout after slogging in the trenches. A vibrant democracy requires participation from all sectors of society, not just politicians and designated experts. Ordinary citizens throughout history have played extraordinary roles in implementing change. How can people get involved and stay healthy and balanced once they do?
Paul Loeb has spent many years researching and writing about citizen responsibility and empowerment, asking what makes some people choose lives of social commitment while others abstain. He is an associate scholar at Seattle’s Center for Ethical Leadership. He is the author of Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in a Cynical Time and editor of The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen’s Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear.