A holistic civics education for the 21st century and beyond.
Good Creatures: Holistic Civics for Curious Humans creates educational web content, providing a transpartisan and holistic civics resource for the 21st century. We aim to support our fellow citizens as we become more compassionate, well-informed, and wholeheartedly engaged in practicing democracy. We believe that beyond the status quo of fear and disinformation lies the potential for truly transformative ways of living in community with one another.
What do we mean by “holistic” civics?
Basically, the problems with our civics education go beyond simple ignorance of how the government works. As we move deeper into the 21st century, polarization has worsened, disinformation has become a major player, and rapid technological advancements leave policymakers and voters alike uninformed and thus unable to debate policy knowledgeably. Beyond that, we have arguments and conflict, not only based on the issues but based on our own experiences and mental health.
It feels like there is an huge possibility for change and growth in our communities and our nation. It also feels like we are on the knife’s edge of conflict. Holistic means that you can’t understand the parts of a thing without realizing they’re all interconnected as part of the whole. We really believe that the problems in our politics won’t be resolved until we own that we bring our whole selves to every issue. Let’s break down some of these parts.
You are probably familiar with “illiterate” meaning “not able to read.” Civic illiteracy means people lack the knowledge and skills to participate in citizenship effectively.1 For most people, civics class is a distant memory, and not a particularly useful one. Only 26% of Americans can name the three branches of government, and 57 percent couldn’t name a single justice on the Supreme Court.2 A majority of people we’ve talked to, and honestly sometimes ourselves, have been confused even further by local and state politics.
90% of Americans believe their country is divided over politics and 60% feel pessimistic about their country overcoming these divisions in order to solve problems together.3 A wide majority of Americans feel that political debate is more negative, less respectful, and less fact-based. Half of Americans say talking about politics with people they disagree with politically is “stressful and frustrating.” However, at the same time, an approximately equal number (~75%) of Republicans and Democrats believe their local community is at least somewhat open to opposing viewpoints.4
Disinformation thrives in ignorance.
Most Americans lack technical literacy.
- algorithms, machine learning, artifical intelligence, security and privacy, etc.
1 Morgan, Lori A.. (2016). Developing Civic Literacy and Efficacy: Insights Gleaned Through the
Implementation of Project Citizen. i.e.: inquiry in education: Vol. 8: Iss. 1, Article 3.
Retrieved from: http://digitalcommons.nl.edu/ie/vol8/iss1/3
2 Shaw, M., 2017. Civic Illiteracy In America – Harvard Political Review. [online] Harvard Political Review. Available at: <https://harvardpolitics.com/culture/civic-illiteracy-in-america/> [Accessed 17 July 2020].
3 Heltzel, Gordon, and Kristin Laurin. “Polarization in America: two possible futures.” Current opinion in behavioral sciences vol. 34 (2020): 179-184. doi:10.1016/j.cobeha.2020.03.008
4 Pew Research Center, June, 2019, “Public Highly
Critical of State of Political Discourse in the U.S.”
Practical and grounded, El’s education and experience is in environmental engineering and software design. These strengths lend themselves to her penchant for appropriate technologies, user-focused design, and community development.
Wordsmith, daydreamer, and mystic, Lalie loves to travel, read, and learn. About everything! Endlessly fascinated by the world we’ve built together, and curious about what we will build next, Lalie is passionate about the potential of all things — especially humans.