Global citizenship is the idea that your identity goes beyond where you grew up - instead, every person is a valuable member of a worldwide community. In this guide, we explain what it means to be a global citizen and how to make a real impact on the issues that matter to you.
What is global citizenship?
Global citizenship is understanding the world and your place in it. It’s recognising that you have rights and responsibilities towards humanity as a whole. A key part of that is being aware of the issues facing your local community and the wider world, and doing your bit to help.
How do you become a global citizen?
Develop an awareness
A good first step is to find out more about the issues facing your local community and the wider world. These might be local issues such as homelessness, national issues such legal injustice, or international issues such as climate change. Not sure where to begin? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- To see what issues are affecting your local community, take a look at local groups on social media, your local paper, and your council / local community website.
- Keep an eye out in places like cafes, libraries, and supermarkets for leaflets and posters featuring local charities and other incentives.
- To find out more about international issues, search Unifrog’s Know-how library using the Citizenship filter, you’ll find a large range of guides covering everything from prison reform to the plastic crisis.
- Charities such as Amnesty International and the International Red Cross are another good place to start. Their websites (linked to at the end of this guide) are packed with information on their latest campaigns.
- Develop a broad awareness of international news by reading newspapers (print or online) and listening to news podcasts..
It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get involved with every campaign you read about, so focus on the issues that really matter to you. Once you’ve decided what those are, dig deeper into them and find out what you can do to make a difference.
This is where the fun starts. In order to become an active global citizen, the next step is to make a contribution to the world by getting involved with local and international incentives. This doesn’t have to be something that requires a lot of energy and time - the small stuff counts too. Here are a few ways to jump in:
- Volunteer. Whichever cause you’re interested in, volunteering for a charity or campaign is a quick and effective way to make a difference. You could serve food to the homeless at a soup kitchen, raise money for refugees, help out at your local care home, or even join a peaceful protest.
- Eat less meat. The meat industry has a destructive impact on the environment, from fueling climate change to polluting landscapes and waterways. You can make a difference by including more veggie and vegan meals in your diet.
- Be an LGBTQ+ ally. A big part of being a global citizen is challenging ignorance and intolerance. One way you can do this is through showing solidarity with those who face oppression due to their gender or sexuality. Read our guide to find out more about how to be an LGBTQ+ ally.
- Avoid single-use plastic. The United Nations (UN) warns that sea life is facing ‘irreparable damage’ from the millions of tonnes of plastic waste which end up in the oceans each year. You can help by opting for more sustainable solutions such as canvas bags, reusable bottles, and second-hand products.
- Create content. Believe it or not, it’s possible to make a difference from the comfort of your sofa. Research your topic thoroughly, create informative and engaging content, publish it online (perhaps through a blog, YouTube channel, or online magazine), and use it to spread awareness.
These are just a small handful of ways to get involved. Once you begin researching the issues you’re passionate about, you’re bound to come across others. In the meantime, here are a selection of other Know-how guides on different topics to get you inspired:
Good stuff from elsewhere
Join Amnesty International to help campaign for human rights.
International Committee of the Red Cross
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) helps to protect and assist victims of war and other situations of violence.