(Written by Eliot Johnson, and Zoe Clark)
Every Michigan resident is familiar with the economic challenges facing the state. From job losses to foreclosures. The challenges we face are daunting. No single person can fix all the broken pieces of the state. But Michigan Radio has been on a quest this year to learn about the little things each of us can do to make a difference.
All this year, Michigan Radio's Morning Edition Host Christina Shockley has been talking to people from across the state about ways to improve Michigan. We call it the Three Things Series because we asked each person for three ways that ordinary Michiganders could help the state.
The response has been amazing, generating hundreds of ideas for each of us to consider and act upon. From recycling to community organizing to drinking more Michigan beer, the ideas we've received have been a diverse collection of potential ways to improve both the state and our attitudes towards it.
Today, we concluded the Three Things Series with an hour-long call-in show. It will air again tonight at 8 p.m., or you can hear it here:
When we first started the series earlier this year, one of our first guests for the Three Things Series was Michigan-born actor and musician Jeff Daniels. He quickly voiced an idea that was echoed by many of our guests:
"When you have some money, spend it locally. You can go to the big chain stores that really are just looking at a whole national, maybe even international, picture when you're buying a hammer. But I would suggest you go to that local hardware store There are people that were really hit hard, and they're still keeping their doors open."
Throughout the Three Things Series, we often heard guests calling for Michigan residents to inform themselves more rigorously about the state's political, economic, and environmental issues.
Thomas Lynch, a Michigan author, poet, and undertaker, had an interesting twist on this idea, calling on Michiganders to turn off the television:
"I think we should make every effort to be better citizens. For me, I think that means swearing off of the TV from five o'clock in the evening until ten o'clock at night when I'm usually safely asleep in the chair, and spending that time going to other sources for our news and information."
Some people turned to the environment for inspiration.
Matt Dunstone, a filmmaker from Michigan urged Michigan residents to visit locations in the state that have been damaged by environmental degradation or disaster:
"Immerse yourself in the bounty of Michigan's incredible natural environment, but, each time you search out the most beautiful parts, also take a little time to search out those sites near you with some scenic shortcomings or even physical damage and learn about them. We need to somehow learn to love these places the same way we do the lakeshore and trails."
Whether it's learning to appreciate every inch of Michigan's landscape or spending more money locally, we've heard a wide array of ideas this year, and we thank you!
In 2011, we look ahead. Be sure to listen and watch for our series on what things are working in our state.
And if you have some ideas about what's working, let us know!