A global citizen is a person who sees themselves as a member of the 'global community' rather than a specific place or nation. No matter where they are in the world, they recognize that their actions and words have an influence and value. Through the use of technology, the internet, advocacy and simple actions, a global citizen works to achieve sustainability.
1) Don't stand by old allegiances forever.
Just like we grow apart from some friends, we might find ourselves losing what we thought was our foundation.
As a Lithuanian sea scout, one of my lifetime heroes has been Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the scouting movement and First Chief Scout of Boy Scouts of America (BSA). He taught us to question. He gave us a creed to live by: a Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.
I was angered as an atheist teenager when I was told that an atheist can not be a true scout. I let it go. As an adult I learn BSA was kicking out gay scout leaders- I stuck up my middle finger.
Discrimination is never okay. Don't let your loved ones (in my case the scouts) get away with it. Silence can be dangerous.
2) Don't- “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”
Following local customs in certain situations is not always advisable:
- Throw your trash out the window if that's what you see everyone do in Thailand.
- Refuse to let a cousin through your front door because she is of a lower caste in Nepal.
- Catcall teenage girls in a drive-by in Ecuador.
- Drunkenly piss in the alley during Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
There is possibly no worse advice if you want to live your life as a Global Citizen.
3) Don't forget who you are.
It is true- when you are a global citizen you can feel comfortable in any situation, environment, or culture in the world. However, that does not mean you have to become another person. Respecting other cultures, and showing respect to your own is key.
Its easy to fall in love with an exotic place. Its the equivalent to love at first sight. While loving a place for months or years is equivalent to a long-term relationship. Sooner or later you'll find out about all those little ticks that bother you. They'll fester in you, and suddenly you're blabbing all about it. You've become that person who trashes your significant other behind their back. Ew.
4) Don't keep your mouth shut.
Ask questions on why something is the way it is. Try to get answers. Perhaps you'll learn something new, or you'll challenge someone to question why they think the way they think.
Women's issues are important to me. If someone calls a woman a whore or a baby-killer, its physically impossible for me to keep my mouth shut. I know I might not change their mind, but at least I'm defending someone who might not have a voice at the moment.
Call for reason and logic. If all else fails, use the most important tool of all: EMPATHY.