3 Reasons Why Becoming a World Citizen is Crucial

For someone like me, who is yet to have their first international experience, it would be hard to even relate to the idea of being a world citizen.

I should rather first think about resolving the problems my own nation faces, right?

What role does the world have to play in my journey anyway? All these countries are so distant and I might not even end up visiting all of them, at least in this lifetime.

But well, interestingly, once I delved into knowing more about who a world citizen actually is, I could gain more perspective about the issues I face personally.

World citizens are people who believe in the idea of peace and wish to spread more of it by their actions.

The only difference is that they don’t restrict their community to a city, state or nation, but take it beyond- to the humankind.

World citizens are leaders since they don’t just serve their purpose, but also of those around them. They go global because they don’t believe in the segregating ideologies of casteism, colorism, racism, nationalism etc. They’ll treat the people with diverse global backgrounds with equal love as to their natives. Everyone across the world is a friend to them.

And it was then that I realized how much lack of knowledge and information can confine our mindsets and the way we look at people.

I needn’t necessarily be a traveler to be a world citizen, and with that in mind, I find it my responsibility to reach out and spread the info I could gain.

Becoming a citizen of the world is vital, here’s why:

1. Communicate the reality

world clocks - world citizen

For a moment, think about how do you find your country? Do you like it?

We all love it for the cultural diversity, the people, the places, the languages. We always have something new to discover, even if we stay at the same place for years. But at the same time, we despair when it comes to discussing politics, and how we might or not like how our current leaders are taking it ahead.

And this worry often overpowers what we like about our nation. The news is enough to create the resentments.

But guess what? What we think is what we communicate to the world.

Basically, someone from the other country might think of us differently until they know us. Likewise for us to know them. They might have unrealistic perceptions about us.

World citizens break this barrier by becoming aware of global issues, empathising or even by lending a helping hand if they can.

2. Bringing global learning to the nation

Once we cross the cultural barriers and get to know natives of different countries and their way of living, we know if certain aspects can be adapted in our own nation.

For example, a friend I made who came for her exchange to India taught me the table manners followed in her country. The purpose was beyond learning the etiquette, it was to adopt discipline, patience, and gratitude – something I needed to grasp.

Also, the more international friends you make, the more languages you might get to unleash! If not perfectly, certain nuances of the dialect or tone they speak make you understand how they think and imbibe their culture.

3. Challenge ignorance and embrace sustainability

sustainable trees - world citizen

The more information we carry, the easier it is for us to form opinions.

Being opinionated is crucial since they define our individuality and give us the strength to voice ourselves.

Just like, once you know about a disease is when you attempt to know their symptoms and solutions, similar is the relevance of global knowledge for worldly issues. If we’re aware, responsible and willing to care, we become less ignorant about things that matter and become likely to adopt a sustainable life.

United Nations has laid down 17 Sustainable Development Goals as the universal call-to-action to global issues. These are thoughtfully decided to give us a direction on how as true citizens, we can change the map of the global concerns that are increasing rapidly.

Being a world citizen is a serious responsibility, especially of the youth, to unleash our potential to collectively serve the world.

If this interested you, you can take up volunteer opportunities to become a global citizen.

Read more: 5 Ways You Can Make A Difference

 

Written by

Vanyashree Chaudhary is a light-hearted Journalism student from Delhi. She’s crazy about her love for graphic designing, Oreo shakes and Daft Punk. Find her the happiest while she’s travelling!

3 smart tips to prevent food waste at home

In the journey of growing up, I’ve always heard one sentence after completing my supper:“Clean your plate! There are starving kids in Africa.”

Well, my reply always had been: “So, go and give them this food. “

I never took this sentence from my parents so seriously until I had a glance at what is to starve for food myself. That started happening during college when I was studying late night in my hostel and I had to wait till morning to get something.  

Of course, my hunger was nothing compared to people who are really suffering from starvation and malnutrition. Yet, the horrible feeling of my stomach asking for food while there was nothing I could do about it made me understand why my parents kept telling me to value my meals.

One fine day when I actually watched a documentary on how these kids in Africa and various parts of the world were really starving, and I felt guilty about myself. I felt guilty about how I never respected food

Over a billion tonnes of food is wasted worldwide each year.

“When food goes to waste, so does everything it takes to get it to our plates – water, land, energy, and money,” as said by Dana Gunders, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council in the US.

She added “A whopping 24 per cent of global agricultural freshwater is used to grow food that is never eaten. In fact, if global food waste was a country, it would have the largest carbon footprint after the US and China. And at least in the US, food is also the number one product being tossed into landfills. It’s tragic to see this waste alongside the fact that when over 800 million people are hungry.”

But could all these discussions actually instill some sensitivity in us? Or just got spoken about and moved on with?

We all know that there’s a lot more to add, but let’s not be depressed and actually talk about how we can prevent food wastage.

It all starts from our own home 😊

1. Practice FIFO

FIFO stands for First In, First Out.

While we unpack groceries, we should move older products to the front portion of the fridge/freezer/pantry and put new products in the back.

This way, we’re more likely to use up the older stuff before it expires and prevent it from being thrown away into landfills.

2. Freeze!

There are a lot of food items that can be frozen. There’s a misconception that frozen food lose their nutritional values.

Everything compared to fresh food has lesser nutritional value, but sometimes even less is enough!

Besides this, frozen food also remains safe indefinitely. You can freeze fresh fruits and make a nice cold juice with them later, for instance.

Good News: freezing food items also helps in increasing the expiry date.

You can also designate a week in which you write down everything you throw out on a regular basis. For instance: tossing half a loaf of bread each week?

Maybe it’s time to start freezing half that loaf the moment you buy it, so it doesn’t go stale before you’re able to eat it.

The best part is: this indirectly also helps you in saving money 😉

3. Take Stock

Note the upcoming expiry dates on foods you already have at home, and plan meals from the products that are nearest to their expiry dates.

On that note, also keep a list of what’s in the freezer and when each item was frozen. Place this on the freezer door for easy reference and use items before they pass their prime stage.

Designate one supper each week as a “use-it-up” meal.

Instead of cooking a new meal, look around in the cupboards and refrigerator for leftover items and other food that might otherwise be overlooked easily.

Food waste is indeed a very alarming and terrifying issue everyone is facing.

But, looking at the brighter side of things, it’s so easy to overcome. There are so many things you can do to help and it all starts from our own home and lifestyle.

So, let’s spread the word. Awareness is the key. This is our planet, and it’s everyone’s job to protect and preserve it before it’s too late.

Together we can fight for and achieve SDG 2: Zero Hunger!

Challenge yourself and dream big for a healthier lifestyle, and a healthier world 😊

Do you want to go deeper into the changes and get a hands-on for Zero Hunger?

Find your opportunity to Volunteer and impact sustainability at aiesec.in

If you like this post, you may also like When will the world wake up to freedom —from pollution?”


Written by

Anisha Bhawanani is graduated in Marketing and Finance and loves writing. She is a happy go lucky girl with a head full of dreams, very passionate about traveling and exploring different cultures. One day she wants to win a man booker prize.

3 Unusual Actions to Reduce Climate Change

We’re all subtly aware of what climate change is, why it happens and it’s repercussions.

After all, we’ve spent our most of the school days discussing them. Be it writing essays, listening to speeches, competing in debates or advocating the rising global temperature in some way.

But could all these discussions actually instil some sensitivity in us? Or just got spoken about and moved on with?

India is a huge country, with more than a billion people currently, they say.  Every sixth person in the world is an Indian.  With such a vast representation and power, comes the need of being responsible.

Why?

Because we’re not only one of the most populated nations, but also one of the most vulnerable countries to climate changeBelieve it or not, climate change is personally affecting us.

How? Rising sea level and extreme weather events lead to like population displacement and pollution around you.

Also, increasing local temperatures can cause heat-related cardiopulmonary illnesses,  stress and something as severe as mental health consequences.

And we don’t always see that coming.  What can be a better example than Kerala floods?

But after reading and already knowing most of this, what should we actually do? Go ahead to see some options.

1. Vote

woman encouraging people to vote - climate change

All the levels of the government consist of people who make significant decisions for the nation, all of which conclusively come down to climate and Earth.

It’s pivotal for any individual to realise the need to vote, and why they shouldn’t refrain from it.

The youth of the nation are observed to keep the privilege of voting rights as an option. We need to understand that the future generations would look upon our actions to take theirs.

The authority that lies in the hands of the government is surprisingly unparalleled and we need a voice that takes ownership of its people.

One less vote gives one more chance to the wrong leader, remember that.

2. Choose one cause and go for it

In a world of more than seven billion people, each of us is a drop in the bucket. But with enough drops, we can fill any bucket.”

– David Suzuki

The statement says it all. To begin with being a good leader, we need to become good enough in the beginning.

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals enlist all the major world issues, where we stand against them and what we can do about it.

Just sitting and thinking never helps, but educating yourself about them may bring forward something that relates to you. Something that nerves you to do something about the cause you relate to.

Be it freedom from pollution or conservation of nature, empathise with one goal and go for it!

3. Study, advocate climate and spread some sense

Yes, this can be considered an unusual action, since it’s rare to find people who’re generously thinking about climate change and doing something about it.

Be one of those rare people.

By advocating we mean becoming a story and sharing it. Leading by example.

Having information is never bad. Connect to people with different notions and evaluate yourself.

Challenge and dream big for a safer India, healthier India.

India is in a serious state of climatic depression and one part of the country has already begun to face the consequences.

Let’s become accountable and showcase the responsible citizenship within us.

If this article made sense to you, you can know more about how you can contribute to global climate change with AIESEC here.


Written by

Vanyashree Chaudhary is a light-hearted Journalism student from Delhi. She’s crazy about her love for graphic designing, Oreo shakes and Daft Punk. Find her the happiest while she’s traveling!

Why gender equality is still not achieved, and how can you help it.

While many people are celebrating Women Equality Day today, I heard many others decrying it. A lot of people believe women are already equal and that their fight now is just to push men out.

You may say: “it’s 2018, why are we still talking about feminism and equality?”

Breaking news: because it’s still an issue.

What equality is that which implies tolerating that occasionally a man will land at an awesome position or a higher wage just because he is a man?

Accepting that ladies will have less superannuation at the end of her working life since she took two or three years off to raise her children?

Of course, opportunities are there for everyone to try out, but be honest to yourself (really, really honest): if there is equality, why women are a whopping 15% less likely than men to get promoted?  

Did you ever stop to think about why women are not getting all the opportunities they want? Maybe something about the culture getting on their way?

Today, there’s more emphasis on equality and diversity everywhere than ever before. But, are we really encouraging it through our actions?

Obviously, we aren’t…

gender euqality SDG 5

All it takes is a look around to see several stories that prove how inequality is still out there!

In Saudi Arabia, for instance, ladies have just barely been given the privilege to drive.:

Madawi al-Rasheed is a Saudi Arabian professor of social anthropology at the London School of Economics. She talks a little about it.

“We talk about driving as if it is the most important thing. It is important for the women’s movement… But there are certain legal restrictions that are still in place, that are also a pressing issue. It’s a long struggle and a long road to serious equality.”

Yet, despite everything, they can’t marry, divorce, travel, get a job or have an elective medical procedure without authorization from their male guardians.

In India, an engineering student was bold enough to talk about patriarchy.

“There’s a guy who doesn’t want his girlfriend to even talk to another guy. Another guy would rather spy on her than ask her questions directly. There’s a guy who makes the girl so scared that she lives life afraid that any action of hers might annoy him. The list is endless”

Men often want to know the whereabouts of girlfriends/wives at each and every moment. Claiming their insecurity as their concern for her safety. This sometimes ends up with physical violence as well.

Aren’t men allowed to go free anytime and anywhere?

We talk about equality, but according to Beatrice Alba, a researcher from LA Trobe University, it remains mostly only on papers. When it comes to actual live decisions, people do discriminate on the basis of gender, even if subconsciously.

An experiment was conducted in which participants watched an entrepreneurial pitch video of images relating to a new venture, narrated by the voice of the entrepreneur.

Participants were randomly assigned to a group in which either a male or female voice narrated the pitch, which was otherwise identical. When a male voice pitched the venture, 68% of participants thought it was worthy of funding, compared to only 32% when pitched by a female voice.“

So you can deny as much as you want, it’s a fact: gender inequality continues in current social orders.

But ok, enough of just saying that the issue is out there. Let’s be practical: what can we do to actually about it?

Here are 5 things you can do to foster gender equality

1. Stop teaching boys that they are ‘protector of women’.

“Teach them about the full autonomy of women—that it is not their job to expect to be cared for by women, that they do not own women’s bodies, and that it is also not their job to protect women because they are women.”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Author of We Should All Be Feminists

Protecting people is a good thing but we should teach boys to protect anyone who requires protection, regardless of gender.

That way they are less likely to grow up to think of their job as “protector of women”. This inevitably comes with the assumption that they can also think for, and decide for, women, which results in patriarchy.

“I just want to protect her” can then become an excuse for everything.

2. Educate yourself and others about the difference in opportunities.

First and the foremost thing here is Education.

Did you know that girls in poor communities often miss their schools often due to lack of clean water in their village. They spend several hours fetching water for their families because, apparently, that’s “their responsibility”.

Also, a huge number of girls in rural areas are not allowed to move out of their house when they are on their periods. Period awareness should be spread with the fact that it’s not a taboo.

Things like that need to be talked about. It’s a big change, that needs to be taken on baby steps, which is exactly why we need to start now!

You can also volunteer at several rural areas and establish a mentorship with them.

3. Stop raising children in different ways, based on their gender.

If people grow up thinking this or that about gender roles, we have no one else to blame but ourselves, the elders.

We start pushing rules from before they are born. “Blue is for boys, pink is for girls”, “boys toys vs girls toys”, “boys don’t cry”. All these things start shaping the way our children think and behave, and they can spend the rest of their lives struggling with those “truths”.

Kids need to learn that all human beings come with the same rights, despite their gender or sexual orientation. It’s never too late to start trying and no step is too small.

4. Pay attention to your own actions: do you behave in different ways if it’s a man or a woman?

It’s not that it’s on purpose, but we constantly see boys advising or helping girls on things. It may seem ok, even friendly, and that’s why we don’t notice small small things.

For instance, if a girl is struggling with doing something that requires strength, usually boys come to the rescue and offer to help. But do you see them doing the same if it’s a male friend? Not really.

woman helping each other to achieve equality

On the other hand, girls are very willing to accept help, while as men have this pride that they should be able to do it themselves.

Guys, a quick reminder: it’s ok to get help, ok?

5. Engage directly

There’s a lot you can do if you want to take a step forward.

A small beginning is engaging with movements like ‘Cause we Care’ (@causewecare). It’s an online campaign committed to helping single mothers and children to improve their life.

They take support from the donors and Volunteers to break the cycle of poverty for single mothers. They help in upliftment for the better world.

gender equality is responsibility of all

You can also volunteer at a local rape crisis centre. Rape falls under Sexual Assault, which is a non-consensual touching and a forceful Sexual Act.  There are various Organisations and NGOs that help the victims.

You can always be a part of these NGOs and campaigns.  Every action counts 😊

Gender equality is about both men and women being able to be themselves and do what they want, respecting each other mutually!

Let us know in the comments if you ever did something on gender equality! We’d love to know it 🙂

We at AIESEC have many projects around the world for SDG number 5 (gender equality), SDG number 4 (Quality Education), SDG number 10 (reduced inequalities).

If you’re interested and feel that you can contribute, check more about the program here.

If you like this post you may also like: We Need To Talk About Consent


Written by

Anisha Bhawanani is graduated in Marketing and Finance and loves writing. She is a happy go lucky girl with a head full of dreams, very passionate about traveling and exploring different cultures. One day she wants to win a man booker prize.

We need to talk about CONSENT!

“You are not a victim. No matter what you have been through, you’re still here. You may have been challenged, hurt, betrayed, beaten, and discouraged, but nothing has defeated you. You are still here! You have been delayed but not denied. You are not a victim, you are a victor. You have a history of victory.”

~ Steve Maraboli

Sexual abuse, rape, harassment – words we hear almost every day.

But, what about consent? Why is it that people are so reluctant on talking about the one thing that should actually matter?

The rise of the #MeToo and #time’sup movements have put an unprecedented focus on the issue of what is acceptable sexual behaviour.

So let’s stop avoiding the subject, is time to address it!

 

For too long as a society, people have blamed victims – usually women – for letting themselves be raped.

“She shouldn’t have been so drunk”, “she should have worn those clothes”, “she should be out so late”. But the concern is much less if a guy is doing any of those things.

On the other hand, we constantly see rapists and assassins – usually men – being forgiven. Apparently, they’re acting on some kind of uncontrollable instinct, from which they must be protected.

The issue remains even less understood when the situation is between two people who know each other. And that is something that we as human beings need to change.

It may seem simple to understand what “consent” means, but still, lots of metaphors are needed to actually clarify it.

This is a good one. You wouldn’t force or pressure someone into having a cup of tea, and you can tell when someone wants a cup of tea or not.

If someone says they want a cup of tea one minute, they can change their mind the next and should not be pressured to drink the tea. If this sounds simple, then so is the issue to consent to sex.

Consent is beautiful, it is enthusiasm, it is a free choice, it is mutual.

It is NOT assumed, NOT a right of marriage, NOT said in the clothes you wear.

This is what consent looks like:

  • Communication is key!

It’s easy to get caught up in the moment, but it’s just as easy to make sure that both partners are consenting before or as they move forward.

You can ask your partner, “Is this okay?” or “Do you want to slow down?”, among other things, to make sure they are really comfortable with going with it. It’s important to communicate every step of the way.

Don’t assume that it is okay to move forward without permission.

  • Being explicit

There’s only one way to know for sure if someone has given their consent: if they tell you. It is important to be explicit about consent, by verbally saying “yes,” or using other affirmative statements.

  • Being respectful

It is extremely important that, if your partner communicates that they do not want to continue, you respect that! For sure you would like to be respected if it was the other way around, right?

  • Consent Isn’t Only Given by a Woman

Allow me to burst a few bubbles: consent isn’t something that’s gender-specific.

If you think women are exempt from being sexual predators, think again. And if you think men are excluded from being victims of sexual abuse, you’re delusional.

This is what consent does not look like:

  • Saying yes while you really want to say no

Saying “no” t can be awkward, uncomfortable, anxiety-provoking. But you are your own first line of defence. If you are unsure about it, say no. Nobody can force you to do something when you are not on board with it.

  • Assuming that a specific gesture means that it’s a “yes”

Dressing sexy or flirting is exactly that, and nothing more. Sometimes people just want to feel pretty, is their right.

Just because someone flirts with you, it does not mean that they are consenting to anything.

The attire of someone does not indicate whether or not they are giving you their consent. Consent only comes in the form of one word and that word is “yes.”

  • Consent is not implied

Regardless of whether or not you are in a relationship, or whether or not both of you have consented to the activity before, consent is not implied. The bottom line is, if the answer isn’t “yes,” it’s “no.”

It is also important to know that consent is necessary every time, not just one time.

  • If Consent Is Given For One Sexual Act, It Doesn’t Mean It Covers All Sexual Acts

Just because someone consents to one thing, it doesn’t mean they’re consenting to anything and everything else.

If you’re with your partner and have consented to everything you were doing up until a certain point, but he/she decides to try something else, he/she needs to have your consent first. You can only be sure if the other person consented to a thing by asking them about it.

You as an individual have the right to your words, mind and body.

If you are uncomfortable in a sexual situation or any situation, as a matter of fact, it is important to be explicit about this. Just as it is important to read someone’s body language and listen to what they are saying.

It’s high time that we as human beings know what is it that we can do to make this world a safer place. Not just for women but for men as well.

People should be able to understand when they might be a victim of a crime or a suspect of a crime. And they should feel comfortable and safe to do something about it. We should all know where we stand.

Slowly we are taking steps to reduce the inequalities that persist in the society. Let’s just be aware of the importance of having consent, every step of the way.

Again: if you don’t have consent, you can’t do it.

We would love to know more about your side of the story. Tweet us using the #WhatsYourIssue.

We at AIESEC have many projects for SDG number 5 (gender equality) around the world, for our Global Volunteer program. If you’re interested and feel that you can contribute, check more about the program here.

 

If you liked this blog you may also like: Let’s talk about it. Period.


Written by

Studying bachelor’s in biotechnology, Aayushi is a really passionate person, who loves to read and travel. She believes people, places, and stories have the power to change anyone and help them understand the purpose of life.