Ground Zero: Global Citizenship 2000

A report on Global Citizenship 2000 Youth Congress

By Carl Teichrib - year 2000

Please visit his website at





Reinventing the World


Introduction:  Millennium Projects are ideas and ventures developed at the Global Citizenship 2000 Youth Congress by the various attending schools. On Saturday, April 5, every school was given an afternoon to brain-storm and develop ideas and frameworks for Global Citizenship projects. These Millennium Projects are to be implemented within the schools, lobbied for within political circles, and used as a model for other schools to accept and teach. Some ideas are very workable and can be accomplished by a dedicated class, others are outlandish - regardless of the size and scope of each project, it all perfectly fits within the evolving global paradigm. Even the outlandish were perceived as realistic and accepted as something to be strived for. From the least to the greatest, all can be accomplished.

These are the Millennium Projects of the schools that participated in the Global Citizenship 2000 Youth Congress.

All information presented in this report was taken from personal tape recordings of the event. Unfortunately, some portions of the recordings were damaged and the sound is garbled. Where necessary, this is noted in the report.

Global Citizenship 2000, Millennium Projects

Proposed at Global Citizenship 2000 Youth Congress, April 5, 1997, Vancouver, B.C.

Vancouver Learning Centre (Note for American readers: the Canadian spelling of center is centre.)


The Vancouver Learning Centre was large enough to split into two teams. Each group represented their own ideas.

Group 1

a) Work towards developing a kids governmental organization. This would be an independent Kids United Nations body with offices world wide.

The purpose - to "Teach others about how to be a good global citizen."

It was explained that kids have a neutral view and understand some of the problems better. As well, a Kids UN would help remind adults about being a kid. This group would be open to all nations and cultures, it would implement programs dealing with the environment and government, promote positive solutions, work with education and schools around the world, and teach kids to teach parents and friends about global issues.

b) Develop a Global Citizenship theme park. This theme park would have exhibitions such as an "imagination market" and would teach environmental servant hood.

One idea for the park was a ride where people discovered what it would be like to be cut down as a tree and what each stage would be like.

All profits would be given to the appropriate charities.

c) To encourage the use of hemp instead of trees.

Group 2

a) Develop a Ministry of Water for world wide water management. This would include the creation of "ocean farms" and the provision of world wide drinking water. As well, a Ministry of Terrafirma should be developed in conjunction.

b) Global Education: to develop a world wide school course on global issues.

"There should be a world wide course, a school course on planetary preservation...just like math and English."

To finance such a global education system, one idea was to use an air miles type system. Instead of individuals receiving air miles, funds would be channeled into this world wide course on global citizenship.

Another idea for financing global education was to take national defense budgets and direct the funds into education departments. The military would be placed under civilian control (the UN?) and used only for "peacekeeping".

Individual accountability: If you destroy anything on the planet, you have to pay.

c) World Leader Accountability: "Leaders should have performance reviews on a regular basis to make sure that they're doing the right thing for the planet."

Give the people an ability to cast votes on major global issues.

d) The Year 2000 and the Debt Clock: Zero all personal and national debt. "Nobody owes anything to anybody and we can all start from a practical ground zero level. This led us to...creating access cards for every individual - that would take care of their basic needs - like a credit card - like a swipe card, so everybody is entitled to food and a house and enjoyment and education. And how you gain points for your access card: Everybody has a certain number of 'points'. By doing your job - so if you're a janitor and you're a good janitor and you do your job and you go to work everyday, you get points on your access card, so you'll never be short food or a place to live or anything. And, if you're particulary good...and do things for the planet or come up with something that really benefits the planet, you can get bonus points for aiding the planet by doing extra good...this would be a non-transferable card that is coded with your finger print...nobody could steal your card and pass themselves off as you...the value is based on what you contribute to mankind and for the planet."

e) Declare a world wide Global Citizenship Day.

f) "Everybody should be assigned an area of the planet that they are designated as a custodian for." Give awards to custodians who do an extra good job in their "specific planetary area."

Brackendale Secondary School

a) Create a school club in Brackendale Secondary, where everybody the school and throughout the community would get involved in projects that would save the environment. The club would be student run, it would be "...the younger generation in the presence of the Elders and we (the students) would be the leaders."

b) Adopt a school in a third world country, doing fund raisers to provide those students with a chance at an education. Noble.

c) Adopt a Grandparent: Young people would spend time with seniors - learning from their elders. In turn, the elders would learn from young people.

<strong>Burnaby North Secondary School

Burnaby North's present motto is "Dare to Care". At the present time this school has numerous awareness clubs. It was stated by one Burnaby student - "you name it, we have it"

a) Burnaby North decided to develop community projects that would work in conjunction with the many existing school clubs and functions. It was felt that by expanding the work on a local level, this would help affect the global picture. Some of the project ideas of Burnaby North:

- Every graduating student would have to plant a tree to help the environment.

- Recycle boxes in every class room.

- Have car pool days. "Where teachers and students alike have to car pool in order to park in the school lot." (the student who presented this idea stressed the "have to".)

Burnaby North told the Congress that it already had a club called SCREAM - "Students Concerned Regarding Environment and Mother Nature" Burnaby also noted that it had a contact for UNICEF and worked to promote children within the school and projects for the community.

b) Develop a Global Citizenship Fair to promote global citizenship within the school.

c) Develop an Inter-Faith Council. "...which could have many different religions...representatives from all the different religions in the school coming together to promote peace and...get rid of tensions."

At this point, the students from Burnaby North gave Robert Muller a gift. They placed a multi-coloured paper doll crown on his head, symbolizing all the people of the world working together as global citizens.

Children's International Summer Villages

The Children's International Summer Villages is an international non-profit, non-religious organization dedicated to promoting cross-cultural understanding and peace through friendship.

a) Work towards an annual Global Language Awareness Day with the principle aim of breaking down world language barriers. Sign language was discussed as a possible global language.

<strong>Earl Marriott Secondary School

Earl Marriott presented a drama to display the philosophy of Global Citizenship.

Unfortunately my tape was very garbled during part of this session. At this point, this is all I can put down on this interesting display, but it should be enough!

This was a group of young female students. One of the girls sat on a round table, crossed her legs, and held pine tree branches in each hand - Mother Earth. Then, one at a time, the other young ladies laid their hands on Mother Earth and confessed their environmental sins.

Mother Earth (ME) - "Welcome to the Council of Human Beings. I represent Mother Earth."

First student - " I am guilty of supporting the destruction of East Timor by buying jewelry and blankets made in Indonesia."

Second student - "I am guilty of wasting electricity by not taking the time to turn off my radio and lights."

ME - "I hear you."

Third student - "I am guilty of wasting water when I'm brushing my teeth, letting the water run, and having long showers."

ME - "I hear you."

Fourth student - "I am guilty for polluting our streams and rivers by not using bio-degradeable products."

ME - "I hear you."

Fifth student - "I am guilty of killing animals by buying and wearing leather sandals."

ME - "I hear you."

Sixth student - "I am guilty of polluting the environment when I'm fully aware of the oil leak in my dad's car."

ME - "I hear you."

Seventh student - "I am guilty of supporting child labour by buying the expensive products such as Nike that use child labour to make their products."

ME - " I hear you. How can you heal me?"

"I will stop buying products from countries such as Indonesia until they stop the mass destructions that I have been informed of."

ME - " I forgive you."

"I can take the time to turn off my radio and lights when I leave the room or the house."

ME - "I forgive you."

"I can stop wasting water by only taking what I need."

ME - "I forgive you."


(Note: recording too garbled for an accurate transcript of at least one participant in this dialog.)


"I can take in the car to get it fixed pools and take the bus and walk if necessary."

ME - "I forgive you."

"I can stop buying those products, try raise awareness to what they are doing and try to stop child labour."

ME - "I forgive you."

Applause from the Congress.

Comments by Dr. Desmond Berghofer: "Wow! What a message, thank you, thank you."

General Currie Elementary School

a) Create a new school club called the "Global Environmental Action Club".

b) Promote the idea of a national or global Arbor Day for the purpose of tree planting.

c) Work towards better school awareness. One idea was to have a special day for endangered species.

d) Promote Global education as a necessary part of curriculum.

George Jay Elementary School

a) Develop a global pen pal program aimed at learning other cultures, languages, etc. This would develop an awareness of global heritages and cultural experiences.

"And that would have a global impact...a chain reaction if you're talking to one person in the class, they're going to tell their friends...if you say 'I don't like all the pollution over here, it's getting smogy'...a chain reaction...more aware of global issues."

John Oliver Secondary School

a) Create a Global Citizenship Club in the school. Use it as a "seeker" club, making sure the students get involved in saving the environment.

"And by creating the Global Citizenship Club we can influence the parents..."

Comment by Dr. Desmond Berghofer: "The really powerful idea that I just heard there was that idea of having Global Citizenship Club as a beacon club - a bright light shining there and from that light these other things fall out."

Maxwell International Baha'i School - Unity in Diversity Workshop

To demonstrate the concepts Maxwell International would be sharing on, the group performed a skit highlighting the problems of communication in a world of many languages.

a) The solution to this problem, according to Maxwell International, create a "Youth Communications Network" (YCN). YCN would be an "inter-cultural communications network" used to promote awareness on issues of global citizenship. Along this line, a universal system of measurements, currencies, governments, etc., would be highlighted.

"It would eliminate some prejudice, based on race, ethnicity, religion, culture, social status, sex and age, along with many others."

(A further description of Global Citizenship plans - tape garbled.)

YCN would network with other cultures in the pursuit of Global Citizenship. One idea was to have people return to their native countries and talk to schools on a local level, influencing others to get involved.

b) It was noted that the Baha'i faith already holds to global ideals for Earth and humanity.

Comment by Dr. Desmond Berghofer: "A network is one of the most powerful things on the face of the earth, so, right on, we look forward to seeing YCN in operation."

Mount Douglas Senior Secondary School

(A large section of this taping is too garbled to clearly give a description.)

a) Focus on energy consumption - solar power, etc.

b) Seriously lobby to create a car-free downtown. This lobbying would be taken to all necessary levels with the intention on banning all personal automotive traffic downtown. The purpose: conserve energy and help save the Earth from the environmental damage caused by cars.

"We believe that cars should not, do not, belong downtown. Bicycles and people should belong downtown."

"...if we, everyone, believes in just this little idea (of) banning all cars from downtown, and promoting bicycles and human interaction, if we can do this, than surely we can be global citizens."

Richmond High School - Global Perspectives 12: 360 Degrees

a) The students representing Richmond High related how they went to Guatemala to observe and work with the local citizens of that country. One of the stories related how they assisted a local who was very ill but lacked money for medical treatment. The students were able to give $100 to this person, covering the costs of medical help.

One idea that came out of this experience, combined with the Global Citizenship 2000 Youth Congress, was to develop a fund within Richmond High to help students and families in personal crisis. This would create a sense of community within the school and increase students helping students. Because of this, the students could act as a positive role model for the entire community and school.

b) Create a Global Citizenry Charter of Rights for Richmond High. This would create a "better sense of community" within the school.

"We hope that this Charter of Rights would...basically give the kids some morals to live by."

"I think part of this project is to publicize it and to get all the kids aware of it and take it into their hearts and into their minds..."

It was agreed they should place the Charter into the school agenda, yearbook, and newsletter. The general idea was to ensure the Charter was ever present, forefront in the minds of students. One idea to see this a reality was to develop a Charter logo contest each year to try to "get them pumped up about the Charter."

After three years Richmond High would assess what type of effect this Charter of Rights had on the students attending.

Simon Fraser University Student Teachers

Note: As an individual attender, the organizers placed me within this group for participation. Because of this, I took notes during the "mind mapping" session. Before I relate the Millennium Project, I want to share, in point form, some of my notes.

It was noted by the Simon Fraser University Student Teachers that:

Note: In the mind mapping season, "rain cloud" thinking is not being critical of the idea, rather it's looking at possible problems that might be encountered when going public. There was NO criticism of global citizenship.

(Note: this is nothing more than subtle brain-washing.)

These are only my personal notes taken from the working session. In total, the SFU Student Teachers developed 19 different ideas to be implemented in present school settings with the aim of creating global awareness and Global Citizenship. At the Millennium Project presentation, only some of these 19 ideas were introduced.

At the Millennium Project presentation;

a) The central idea was to create global awareness. Children must be participants in this. One idea was to blend Global Citizenship into lessons already being taught.

"...we have committed to each other the idea of sharing our ideas with fellow students and we've got a whole bunch of ideas - we have nineteen ideas that we felt we could implement in our future classroom experiences."

At this point the representative from SFU had to leave. Another SFU Student teacher took over.

b) We can implement Global Citizenship into the SFU Student Teacher practicum. It was noted that networking about global awareness and "integrating it in the curriculum" was necessary.

c) Each class should prepare an individual global awareness plan.

d) Inter-class conferences within individual schools, much like this Youth Congress, should be strived for. As well, inter-school Global Citizenship conferences should also be developed.

"This could promote fellowship and develop attitudes and values for students and teachers."

e) Create "expert" groups that would work within specific areas to help students get in touch with the Earth.

"As teachers helping our students to take over the future, we would have to be pro-active verses reactive."

Dr. Geraldine Schwartz, president of the International Foundation of Learning and partner in organizing this Youth Congress, closed off the Millennium Project presentations;

"One of the most important things that each person can do is to sit here for one moment of thoughtfulness, and plan, which friend, which neighbour, which person, they can share what they learned at this conference with today."

At this point the Congress had 30 seconds of silence for "thoughtful" planning. At the end of these 30 seconds, each of us had to turn to our neighbour and tell them who you'll share this with. At the end of this brief sharing time, Dr. Schwartz continued;

"You know, meeting with team leaders at three o'clock to three thirty , just a short period of time, we made a commitment before June the 30<sup>th</sup> to establish these ideas in the schools, the place wherever we are and develop a nucleus of those people who'd carry on as a club, as a team, as a group.

This is a very great, powerful thing. Can you imagine what would happen, what will happen, as we begin to implement these in our lives?"

Dr. Robert Muller makes some closing comments as well. In these comments, he mentions that many ideas presented are very similar to his own. Some of his remarks were aimed at the organizers, with specific advice on taking these ideas and creating a single document outlining what happened at the Congress;

"...communicate them to the mayor of your city, to the Minister of Environment in Canada, to the World Environment Program in Nairobi, to your parliamentarians who represent you in parliament so that they will get an example of what young people are thinking and what they are ready to do. I have a whole list which I will give to Desmond. For example, yes I have UNICEF...the Secretary General of the United Nations, the UN Earth Council in Costa Rica, so that in order to create a movement that other schools will do what you have begun to do here...very practical proposals. And I think this would go very, very far if you have a document in which this is all written down and then communicate them to other authorities, to other schools, to UNESCO...(at this point on the tape it's too difficult to tell if he is talking about a program now in existence or one that will soon be)...a world program of asking other schools around to do this thinking; 'What do you propose to save the environment of this world?' And you will be the first example given by UNESCO of how to (do it). So this is very, very important what you have done today."

[It must be noted that two schools listed in the Global Citizenship 2000 Youth Congress info packet handed out at the Congress were missing from the event.]

This concludes the Ground Zero Special Report Global Citizenship 2000 Millennium Projects. Further effort is being made to secure a video copy of the event. If and when that happens, an updated copy of this report will be made available.

Copyright: Carl Teichrib, 2000

Please visit his website at

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