In July, New Internationalist will publish the Rax Active Citizenship Toolkit. It is aimed primarily at teachers and students of Citizenship Studies in UK schools but in fact it can be used by anyone seeking to engage more actively in the world around them.
The Toolkit is a landmark in textbook innovation, graphic style, approach to content and attitudes to learning. It also contains exclusive interviews with a range of voices, from popstars and politicians to young active citizens. Over the coming weeks we will be posting the full text of the Rax interviews.
Jon Snow is a British television presenter and journalist and currently presents Channel 4 news. The Rax team caught up with Jon in March 2010, through his involvement in a local community campaign.
What issues do you think are most important for young people to address today?
Family and Community; both are under siege and can never be compensated for by twitter/email/games/Tv/Ipod/mobile activity.
What advice would you give to young people who are using critical thinking and enquiry to get to a reliable understanding of an issue through media-based research?
Start local, compare what you know with what ‘they’ tell you… the media is full of half-truths.
What advice would you give young people seeking to engage with the political process in order to bring about positive change in their worlds?
Start local, build community strength, and build an intranet in your street so that you can link the people who live there. Stage a local street meeting at the pub to share local issues, take local action to win improvements etc and then push out to the wider community beyond.
What effect do you think 21st-century digital technology is going to have on democracy in the UK and the process of campaigning?
Positive I guess but then Obama was Obama and we don’t have any of them. Indeed, in terms of leadership we are in a mess, hence the need to concentrate on the local.
What would your top three tips be to young people seeking to bring about positive change in their world through taking informed and responsible action?
Think and act local. Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Non-violent demonstration.