Good global citizenship is a prerequisite for responsible travelling. The concept is simple but immensely important because it enables an individual to contribute significantly towards a better world.
In a previous post I discussed our motivation to emigrate and mentioned that “… we will take our responsible citizenship elsewhere.” Although that was aimed at the future country of residence, it is equally applicable on any country where we may find ourselves.
So let’s examine the concept of good global citizenship by starting to describe it at a local level.
What is good citizenship?
I found the following good, short answer:
A person who obeys the laws of his country, contributes to society and participates in public affairs with wisdom. Good citizenship is closely tied to the concept of civic duty, the idea that citizens have responsibilities they must fulfil.
We should add that good citizens understand how their respective political systems work and appreciate that voting, where applicable, is not only a civil right but a civil obligation.
The 5 themes of good citizenship
Good citizenship is based on honesty, compassion and respect, all of which are self-explanatory.
Thereafter comes the all-important theme of responsibility, which is more than just obeying the law and fulfilling our civic duties. It includes taking responsibility for our conduct and our attitude.
Last but not least is the theme of courage. That is to do the right thing, especially when it’s difficult or unpopular, or sometimes even dangerous to do.
What is global citizenship?
The term global citizenship typically refers to a person who identifies with a “global community” above his or her identity as a citizen of a particular nation or country. The latter can be called a base identity.
Global citizens don’t necessarily abandon their base identities; such as country of birth, ethnic grouping or religious belief. The global citizenship is just an added layer on top of the existing identities.
This added layer not only brings an added identity, it brings added responsibility too. And this added responsibility brings us to the question “what is a good global citizen?”
What is a good global citizen?
All the points already mentioned remain applicable, but let’s try and make a summarising list of how a good global citizen should behave:
- Obey the laws of the host country. It is not the visitor’s prerogative to judge the law or judicial system. Have an opinion but act within the law;
- Understand that ignorance of local custom is no excuse for unacceptable or offensive behaviour;
- Don’t abandon the civic duties at home; contribute or participate as and when possible;
- Contribute to society in the host country as and when possible;
- Remain honest, compassionate and respectful to the host nation, its people, its religion and every other aspect representing life as lived by the hosts;
- Take responsibility for your actions, overall conduct as well as attitude;
- Have the courage to do the right thing, regardless of the circumstances;
- Treat the environment with the same care as you would treat society.
There we have eight points covering good global citizenship. From here we can move onto the topic of Responsible Travelling, which will be covered in the next post.
“The first requisite of a good citizen in this Republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing to pull his weight” – Theodore Roosevelt
I would love to have your thoughts. Are there any specific aspects you want to highlight?