What is a Global Citizen?
“A global citizen is someone who identifies with being part of an emerging world community and whose actions contribute to building this community’s values and practices.” – Ron Israel, The Global Citizenship Initiative
Too often, we focus on what divides us, rather than what unites us.
But now more than ever, we need to work together and stand up for what we believe in. We must critically reflect on our unequal world to find ways to take responsible action.
Climate change affects us all. Western countries are the main contributors to the problem, but the countries in the Global South are most affected by extreme weather conditions, droughts, floods and unpredictable harvests.
As global citizens, we need to ‘think global and act local’ to create sustainable change.
This is key to Global Action Plan’s work. We support communities to live sustainable lifestyles, by empowering them to make positive behaviour change and actions.
Action on Global Citizenship
Within our Action on Global Citizenship programme, we work with schools to help students build campaigns on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These projects can range from recycling and waste, developing a community garden, peer learning on the environmental SDGs.
The students lead the project, and finding connections between local and global situations is at the forefront of their work.
For example, when one of the groups was developing their campaign around waste, we looked at their local situation. They studied if their families recycle, what services are being provided to the community and what happens in their school. The students soon saw how problematic this issue is in their own community. Seeing the global impact of littering by humans and companies was eye-opening. Now they are working on a campaign to reduce litter in their school and community. They have taken leadership to research what they can do and whom they can contact. This is what it means to be a global citizen.
As global citizens, we have a responsibility to educate others on how to take critical action.
Our Action on Global Citizenship Teacher Toolkit uses Development Education and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) methodologies and activities to explore what sustainability means.
A Shared Responsibility
Each one of us has the capacity to become a global citizen at any age.
If you join a community garden and help biodiversity in your community you’re a global citizen. If you work with colleagues to tackle plastic waste at work, you’re a global citizen.
Remember, it’s about acting locally while thinking globally. Being a global citizen does not mean abandoning a national identity. Rather, it is enriching it with the joys and responsibilities of being part of a globalised world.