Why You Should See Yourself As A Global Citizen
What does it mean to be a global citizen? It means that you see yourself as part of a global community of other people. It means that you take a cosmopolitan view of the world, seeing our diversity and common humanity as both having value. Most importantly, it means that you feel a responsibility to stand up and make your voice heard in the fight for a better world. Here are just a few reasons why you should start seeing yourself as a global citizen.
The most important thing gained through a mindset of global citizenship is perspective. Global citizens have an awareness of other cultures that cultivates within them a profound sense of empathy for other people. Not only that, their minds become accustomed to seeing many different ways of accomplishing the same goals. This lessens the shock of the unexpected in daily life and can leave them better able to handle different social environments. Speaking of social environments, being part of a movement with global scope is a great way to make contacts and friends. Become a part of that cosmopolitan set and you'll find new opportunities.
Encountering the challenges that people face around the globe and helping to solve them cultivates problem-solving skills and critical thinking. One of the most important words to a global citizen is action. Real-world issues require ethical and pragmatic solutions, and being a part of that process will make you more practical and grounded. In the course of your journey, you might pick up a few words of a new language. That's a good idea because research clearly shows that learning a second language increases memory retention and cognitive ability through neuroplasticity. In other words, the act of learning to think with new words makes your brain better. Think of global citizenship as a free university.
Is it so surprising that global citizens think...globally? When you learn to see yourself as part of a shared, planetary environment, it drives home the fact that the choices you make affect the rest of the globe. The best example of this is the impact of energy waste on climate change. You might think that one person's actions can't make a difference here, but that's not true. Research shows that you can improve your car's fuel economy by 7-14% just by observing the speed limit, and residential energy use can be cut by 5-10% just by turning devices off when not in use. Thinking reflexively about your place in the ecosystem is just one more side-effect of thinking like a citizen of the world.
It's important to note that a vital part of the natural environment is the human environment. Not only does pollution hurt the poorest people worst, but poverty is also a leading cause of pollution. People who lack resources can't afford the kinds of cutting-edge green technologies that make a positive impact on the environment. A fairer world is an objectively healthier world.
The skills we need to live today will probably not be the ones we need to succeed tomorrow. Technology is evolving at an increasing rate, and that evolution is a global phenomenon. So are the new skill sets required to apply them. It's not just technology itself that's changing; technology changes us as well and is bringing the world closer together at a rapid pace. Cultures are blending and sharing even as automation promises a society of unprecedented wealth and leisure...if we have the wisdom to build it in peace.
It also won't be long before we start exploring beyond our world. As humanity takes its first tentative steps into space, scientific know-how and creative thinking are likely to become actual survival skills. The first step to embracing that future is seeing ourselves as engaged citizens of our unique corner of the universe. In other words, as global citizens.
For global citizens, making the world a better place isn't just a responsibility, it's a privilege. By being part of the world around us, we become better ourselves.