My Duty as Global Citizen

Posted on 05 December 2012

When I was a teenager I subscribed on my own to Newsweek, paying for it with my allowance money. I’d read the weekly news magazine cover to cover. I loved Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, Connie Chung and 60 Minutes.  My world was insular. Our family home was at the end of a dirt road; we rarely saw our neighbors.  I had attended the same Christian school since kindergarten.  And I was growing up in the middle of one of the most remote states – Alaska.  And, yet in spite of (or maybe because of) those factors, I wanted to know what was going on in the world I lived in. I wanted to be informed.

Politics inspired me. I knew the names and faces of the key political global figures of the 80’s.  I knew the issues.  I had opinions.  When I went to college I declared my major as political science with a minor in history and I soaked in what I learned like a sponge.  In my history classes, I quickly gained a greater context for the issues of the day.  I understood Vietnam, Watergate, the Civil Rights Movement and Women’s Lib – not just the facts, the background!  I questioned and I hungered to know more.  Why had my parents protested the Equal Right’s Amendment?  How could the courts have taken so long to come to a decision like Brown vs. The Board?  And seriously, did Christian schools really take off because white folks in the south didn’t want their children to go to integrated schools?  My vision kept widening.  And I got cynical.

I eventually changed my major.

In more recent years, I’ve let go of the cynicism.  I’m informed enough to know when I’m being lied to by big business.  I know who owns the media.  And, I know that I have to look beyond what I’m shown to get to Truth.  The facts are often disputable.  Logic can reason us into big messes, far from basic human dignity, compassion and respect.  And, so many cross-currents of profit interests can mask the impacts of our basic choices.

I know that.  And, so I anchor myself in the simplest, clearest Truths that I know: Everyone deserves respect and opportunity.  We are all inter-connected.   There is more than enough for everyone.  Mother Earth is a living organism.  We are each co-creating our experience of life. Creativity is always seeking to emerge.  Peace is always possible.  Love is always the answer.

When I remember these basic Truths, I am more discerning, and less bothered by that which doesn’t jive.  Today my newsfeed on Facebook is filled with inspiring posts and news items.  I cultivate this positivity – continually looking for information sources that elevate and uplift me.  I listen to innovative scientists, entrepreneurs, movers and shakers, sharing about their projects and passions in TED talks.  I troll bookstores and libraries for the most recent positive publications, watch documentaries by filmmakers on a mission, and am continually tapping into articles, videos and tweets that update me with positive news, innovative perspectives and visionary mindsets.  I cultivate positivity, not to live behind the shelter of rose-colored glasses!  Instead I want to contribute to that which is emerging as an even better version of our world with my attention and intention.

Even within this cultivation of positive information, I am still a witness of injustice and tragedy.  I don’t turn a blind eye to such news.  I simply choose to hear of it from the voices of those who are innovating solution, taking passionate action to restore dignity and justice, and reporting with compassion.

As a global citizen, this is my duty. This is what I was longing for as a teenager – to be in touch with and connected to the greater picture of what is happening in my world — for real! It’s not to argue with the negative or engage in dialogue of old paradigm. No, that does nothing for me, nor does it create solution.

As a conscious and awake witness, my responsibility is to hold space for new possibilities.  And what I see today is that something good is happening on the planet now.  It’s coming from conscious entrepreneurs, passionate youth, grassroots organizations and community dialogue.  Evidence of this shift emerges every day, and I answer it with my yes and contribute to it with my own attention.   I vote every day with my dollar.  I create even more positive dialogue through my work and classes. And I hold the vision for the world I want to live in.

Ghandi preached “Be the Change!” and modeled compassion through circumstances that weren’t.  Martin Luther King, Jr., dreamed the dream and shared it with conviction.   And so, so simply, they changed the world.  This is our mission, and I take it on.


Has the news been getting you down?  Turn to some passionate and positive documentaries like Half the Sky, Thrive, I AM, or Food Inc.  Sit at the feet of some conscious entrepreneurs like Blake Mycoskie or Peter Diamandis.  Be awed by activists who keep it positive like Jessica Jackley or Bryan Stevenson.  Get a new positive vision of the future by reading Abundance: The Future is Better than You Think or Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World.

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