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This Is What One Student Thinks It Means to Be a Global Citizen

Written by Seth Carr, a student of Global Citizenship at the Darrow School in New Lebanon, New York.


A Global Citizen is one who is aware and educated of current events. If a political leader says something ridiculous in any country, to a global citizen, this is just as relevant as another country’s abduction of the general public. As they are a Global Citizen, they should be required to take all countries seriously. A terrorist attack in Spain should be just as relevant as a terrorist attack in Pakistan.

A Global Citizen is one who takes action in their community. The Women’s March, Free Tibet, and even the Peace Corps are great examples of activism. Participating in making changes for the better is an integral part of being a Global Citizen.

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A Global Citizen is one who is inclusive. A true Global Citizen does not discriminate based on race, gender, age, or anything similar, ensuring that none be left out, as excluding people from a population is not what a global citizen is supposed to be.

A Global Citizen is one who is pro-environment. There will never be a Global Citizen denying climate change, throwing out plastic water bottles in the park, or leaving Doritos bags in the ocean. It is also unlikely to see a Global Citizen walking past trash on the street, or the beach, or in the woods, without picking it up. Caring about the planet is important, because until science advances much further, we’re going to be on this planet for a long time.

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A Global Citizen is one who believes in their state, region, and planet. You will never see a Global Citizen who has no faith in the world. No matter what condition the world is in, a Global Citizen can not only see light in it, but will also try their hardest to make it better.

A Global Citizen is one who protests peacefully. Under only very limited circumstances should a Global Citizen resort to violence. In theory violence is really never the answer. In practice, that rule doesn’t always work perfectly. Resorting to violence once, after 50 peaceful protests does not disqualify one from being a global citizen.

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A Global Citizen can tell the difference between real and fake news. One who know the difference in validity of The Wall Street Journal, and Breitbart News. The difference between the FDA and “JohnnysGuideToFood.com”. Knowing what is true and false in the news today is essential to being a Global Citizen.

A Global Citizen knows the difference between equality and equity. Equality is giving everyone an equal quantitative amount, but equity is giving everyone an equal qualitative amount. There is a now-famous image of three people at a sports game.

There are two panels in this graphic, one with entitled “Equality” and the other “Equity”. The equality panel shows three people standing on boxes, looking (or attempting to look) over a fence. The person on the left is much taller on the fence, the person in the middle is just tall enough, but the person on the right is too short to view the game. In the same situation on the equity panel, the tall person has no boxes and can see over the fence. The second person still has one box and can see over it. The third person now has their old box, and the first man’s box, so that they now can see over the fence.

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It can be said that there is a third way of solving the problem, in this metaphor making the fence a chain-link fence. Unfortunately, this is not always possible in practice. Believing that it is, is what we call ableism.

But the most important part of being a global citizen is accepting that the world isn’t perfect, and striving to make it better. Does your town’s food bank carry limited resources? Ask for more. Does your school have limited means of travel for students with handicaps? Ask them to do something.

Making a change for the better is the most important part of being a global citizen.