In celebration of Global Patriot Day, March 20th 2010, I’ve compiled a list of ten ways in which you can become a Global Patriot, and in the process, help create a world that is filled with peace, prosperity, compassion and respect. How are you making a difference?
We promote the belief that everyone deserves to live on a healthy planet, in peace and prosperity, using sustainability, compassion and respect as our guiding principles.
1. Educate Everyone: We often take education for granted in the developed world, and while progress is being made on a global basis with respect to getting children in school, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Education For Everyone, 2010 Global Monitoring Report, there were still an estimated 72 million children out of school in 2007. Many nonprofit organizations, such as Epic Change, are helping educate children in the developing world and need your support. And don’t forget yourself when it comes to continuing education – when was the last time you took a college extension course to expand your horizons? Get Smart – Stay Smart!
2. Support Human Rights: On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Over 60 years later we’re still struggling to bring the essence of these 30 points to people around the world. Organizations such Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch spend countless hours monitoring situations in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Whether the issue is torture, warfare, discrimination, political or religious freedom, women’s and children’s rights, health or arms trafficking, let your voice be heard and demand that governments adhere to the basic principles of human rights for all citizens. Democracies are not immune to these issues, as civil societies have on many occasions enacted laws through popular vote that clearly violated the rights of citizens.
3. Seek Sustainability: In addition to the prominent issues related to CO2 and climate change, the combination of an ever-increasing world population and decreasing levels of nonrenewable natural resources has brought sustainability to the forefront. You can play your part by paying closer attention to the products you buy and consume, the car you drive, and the extent to which you recycle your waste. It’s also important to be knowledgeable on the latest news and trends, and that’s something you can do by reading a few blogs. Grist Magazine, Worldchanging, TreeHugger, The Good Human, and the Dot Earth column in The New York Times are prime examples of online resources that will keep you informed.
4. Foster Health: A very complex issue, health involves nutrition, disease and pollution. From a personal perspective the two most important things you can do are eat well and exercise, but it’s also vital to think about the environmental factors that affect the quality of your health. To learn more about the state of global health, the World Health Organization is constantly monitoring and assessing health trends. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières is focused on providing emergency health care to those who whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe, while the innovative (Red) campaign is bringing brands together in an effort to fight AIDS through the power of capitalism. Thousands of organizations are addressing the heath needs of the homeless and need your support.
5. Believe in Biodiversity: Mankind has long sought to control nature and to use natural resources for pure financial gain without consideration of the biological consequences, but we are already seeing the harmful effects of such practices. Scientists are alarmed by the number of species lost each year. (Biologist Edward Wilson estimates that 27,000 species are currently lost per year.) Tropical rainforests absorb nearly a fifth of all man-made CO2 emissions around the world, yet according to The Prince’s Rainforests Project, these same rainforests are currently being destroyed at the rate of an area the size of a football pitch every four seconds. For years the National Wildlife Federation has promoted biodiversity and has excellent suggestions for how you can help protect wildlife.
6. Practice Water Wisdom: There is no resource more unique than water. It exists as liquid, solid and gas, while constantly flowing above, below and around this planet. Humans do not exist without H2O, and while our population continues to rise, the amount of water available to us is fixed. According to Blue Planet Run, over a billion people do not have access to safe drinking water, and over 2 million people (most of them children) die each year from diseases caused by unsafe water and sanitation. The need to use water wisely is obvious, and you should do your part to conserve this valuable resource. Another way to help this dire situation is by supporting organizations such as Charity: Water and Water.org – both are dedicated to providing clean water to those in need.
7. Alleviate Hunger: We’ve all been hungry from time to time, but few of us have experienced what it feels like to be hungry all the time, to the point of starvation – the sad fact is that over one billion people are undernourished at this very moment. You can see more hunger statistics at Stop the Hunger. The World Food Programme is doing their part, as is Action Against Hunger, but have you ever reached out to the food banks in your own city? You can check out Feeding America to see if there is an organization in your neck of the woods that could use a little support. In downtown San Diego Sean Sheppard’s Embrace is performing miracles for the homeless in need of a meal.
8. Eradicate Poverty: The reality of severe poverty can be found in all cultures, and has been with us for as long as human societies have existed. Oxfam International is an organization working with partners and allies around the world to create lasting change. Another fine example is ONE.org. Cofounded by Bono and other campaigners, ONE is nonpartisan and works closely with African policy makers and activists to alleviate extreme hunger. But such problems require the involvement of companies and governments to effect long term, substantial change – and your voice can make a difference! Are your representatives doing their part?
9. Protect Our Children: The future of civilization depends upon our ability to raise children that are healthy, happy and educated, yet they remain our most vulnerable asset. Whether dealing with the trauma of domestic abuse, the plight of child warriors, or the lack of proper schools and medical attention, children depend upon us for protection. UNICEF is dedicated to protecting every aspect of children’s rights on a global basis. As champions of war-affected children in east Africa, Invisible Children has made a big difference to thousands of children. We are storytellers. We are visionaries, humanitarians, artists, and entrepreneurs. We are individuals part of a generation eager for change and willing to pursue it.
10. Think Beyond Borders: The essence of being a Global Patriot is the ability to move beyond the artificial borders of nationality, religion, ethnicity and politics in order to address the most critical problems that we face as a global society. All of our thoughts, words and actions have an a profound effect on the health and well-being of this fragile world, and it is up to us to bring about positive change. We promote the belief that everyone deserves to live on a healthy planet, in peace and prosperity, using sustainability, compassion and respect as our guiding principles.
Tell us how you are changing the world by being a Global Patriot!