What Does Thinking Globally Mean and Why Does It Matter?

We hear it all the time, the phrase that says: Think Globally, act locally. The so-long-used phrase was introduced first in 1915 by the Scottish planner and conservationist, Patrick Geddes. But many people still don’t know what he meant, and what does it generally mean to think globally.

When you google search, you will see that the ‘Think globally, act locally’ phrase has actually been overused in so many different contexts. It’s been used by corporate leaders and business innovators, by mathematicians, and educators. In terms of business, to think globally means that the leaders and managers should think ahead of th

Business perception of the quote: "Think global act local"
Business perception of the quote: “Think global act local”

eir time, and sense the most emerging trends that lie even further away from their horizon. They must think timely, embracing a global mindset that requires that they commit to new challenges of the future. This, also depends on what this company or corporate wants to achieve in the long-term and how high their ambitions really are.

But more powerfully, and worth highlighting, is the usage of the ‘Think global act local phrase’ by environmental activists. Their concern for the whole planet rather than only for their local community has been rising among the world, and it’s worth applauding for.

Afterall we are all tiny minimal pieces of a great puzzle
Afterall we are all tiny minimal pieces of a great puzzle

So what does the phrase really mean? And how can we act locally?

To think globally requires many elements of the human psychic, will and conscience combined. First things first, it requires an understanding of the fact that we are all tiny, minimal pieces of a great puzzle, and that each and every one of us plays a huge role in what the puzzle turns out to be in the end. Meaning, what we do in our daily lives impacts the planet in some serious ways, and only a few of us are actually aware of this responsibility. To think globally means that you have the right amount of empathy, activism, and desire to preserve what characterizes the earth and human beings as a whole, knowing that you can do something to change the future or keep something bad from happening. This is what’s really going on with climate change and environmental activists worldwide. When you think about it, some of the activists that are currently out there lobbying for the dangers of climate change, won’t even live long enough to experience the consequences. Nor will their children, as the real impact is expected to be felt a long time after. But they have a global mind-set and a long-term

Real impact doesn´t show immediately
Real impact doesn´t show immediately

approach that they have chosen to follow. These people want to improve the world by leaving it behind in a better condition rather than the one they found it in. They think of other generations to come, the hard work that is yet to be done, and the goals that can be achieved on the benefits of developing a gradual, global mindset.

After we reach this level of understanding, we can always start first from the community we live in. We can start by advocating for better health regulations, environmental analysis, recycling, and so many other ways of activism to help spread awareness about the importance of acting up within the community you live in.

Imagine that each small city or town has a few of these people, who commit daily to raise consciousness regarding the damage that we are doing to the place we live in, and that they do their best to help others realize how they can improve, by also monitoring what’s being done to move towards a better situation. Of course, we would all be better behaved and better constructed as human beings that move towards a more socially responsible and sustainable culture of living.

To think globally and act locally, one can actually urge the people to consider the health of the entire planet and to take action in their own communities and cities. And it’s not like this would be something entirely new, as long before governments began enforcing environmental laws, individuals were coming together to protect habitats and the organisms that live within them. These efforts are referred to as grassroots efforts. They occur on a local level and are primarily run by volunteers and helpers.

“You see, any action that you take that builds up your employees supports the community they are a part of, and saves your local environment will scale. Your actions will add to other actions that your neighbors and co-workers take, and these will accumulate to create change over time. The key point of this concept is to think about strategic actions that create the necessary global change. So, in order to think global and then act locally, it’s important to take a step back and realize whether your local actions play into the strategic vision your company has for global impact”. – Katie Dunlap, Solutions.yourcause.

So why does thinking globally matters, at the end of the day?

Think global act local conclusion

It matters a whole lot, specifically considering that there are concerning threats coming our way in the near future, threats that cannot be diminished unless we all start doing something. Take climate change for instance, plastic usage and waste. These are all problems caused by individuals, in certain towns, cities, or countries – but that affects entire humanity. That’s why thinking globally equals a sense of selflessness. It encourages us all to work towards a better future, and it activates in us a sense of social awareness that we ought to have. As cliché as it may sound, the change starts from you and me, as you and I create the ‘us’ – the society that has an impact.

Photos: Shutterstock / Photomontages: Martina Advaney

Check our recent article on Global Village and social responsibility here:

Global Village – When the World Becomes Small



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