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The Need for Global Citizens in Japan


It hasn't even been 50 years since the first color images of Earth were taken during the Apollo 8 mission in December 1968. Today the image of the Earth is an immutable symbol in our culture. But can you imagine not knowing what the world looks like? It is difficult for us to imagine our society without that image to help define our understanding of who, what, and where we are. Our planet supersedes country, race, culture, or creed. All of those boundaries are arbitrary, imaginary, and insignificant when viewed from the perspective of our entire planet. In the years following that first photograph to today, the concept of a Global Culture began in earnest.

Our students identify themselves as 'Japanese' but is nationality determined by borders, armies, language, or genetics? Can someone become or stop being Japanese? The very definition of who is Japanese was very different 100 years ago, and may be very different 100 years from now too.
A former bomber pilot, Garry Davis, disgusted by his service in World War II renounced his American citizenship and created the Foundation of World Citizens, based on the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Without a passport, or national identity, Davis spent his life traveling the world, becoming involved in multiple communities and cultures, developing the ideals of Global Citizenship. He proved that geo-political boundaries are no more real than we decide them to be. Around the same time, renowned media analyst Marshal McLuhan coined the term "Global Village" to describe how countries and cultures which had once been separate from each other (or unfair and one-sided in their influence) were becoming increasingly connected into village-like exchanges through electric technology. Instantaneous movement of information was bringing social and political functions together and creating a heightened human awareness of responsibility, repercussions, and global perspective. In 50 short years, the understanding that we are one species belonging to one planet has grown exponentially.

Japan is a but one small and isolated country, whose economy is largely based on exportation, with most of its food being imported. Located between two rival super-powers, the U.S.A. and China, with North Korea not far away. International education is important for both economic and national security in Japan, and learning to speak English is not only a vague hobby, or useful skill when traveling, it is essential for a stable Japan.

If we could travel back in time to when those first photographs of the Earth were taken, there would be two-thirds fewer humans on the planet than there are now. Over a million different species of plants and animals would exist that have since gone extinct. There would be 90 percent more fish, a billion fewer tons of plastic, and 40 percent more phytoplankton  in the oceans (producers of half the planet's oxygen). There would be twice as many trees covering the land and about three times more ice covering the northern pole during the summer season and 30 percent less carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere.

If you are having trouble getting motivated to teach English after Summer Vacation, just remember how important it might be for helping to raise much needed Global Citizens.

"History is a race between education and catastrophe." - H.G. Wells

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