By Carlisle Brush, IV Form
Ely Prize Winner 2020
Editor’s Note: THE ELY PRIZE IN PUBLIC SPEAKING, originally given by a member of the Class of 1892 in memory of his mother, is presented to the student who gave the best speech in the Global Seminar Public Speaking Competition.
Coming from the small state of Vermont and being fortunate to have the family and friends I do, I have always felt as though I live in a bubble, guarded from the struggles and horrors that so many people go through all over, but also denied the exposure and opportunity to embrace and learn about the many diverse and beautiful cultures within the United States and around the world. When I arrived at St. Mark’s I was able to step out of my small town bubble and join a diverse community. Over the course of this TGS class and through the school year, my understanding of the world and the impact I have on it has grown exponentially. Through the people here at St. Mark’s, I have been exposed to many more cultures, backgrounds, and an overall array of diversity than I ever have before. This has helped me become a better global citizen because I now have a more educated and nuanced understanding of and appreciation for diversity and how I can impact my community both locally and globally.
Broadening my understanding of globalization has helped me to realize how humanity has evolved and will continue to evolve and how I can positively influence this change. Globalization is the sharing of ideas, materials, culture, languages, and more due to the connections formed between people all around the world. Early on these ideas and materials got shared through trade between merchants, primarily traveling on routes such as the Silk Road. Now, globalization is sharing not only culture and ideas, but technology and knowledge, advancing society and modernizing many cultures. Some examples are forms of renewable energy, electronics, electric cars, and weapons. Through globalization, I hope to share ways to lessen our impact on global warming and educate more about poverty and hunger and the ways we can improve them locally and globally.
By interacting daily with a diverse community, I am able to communicate and learn about concerns I have along with those of others and compare how they are similar and different. After study hall one night in Pine/Oak, I was in Mandy Hui’s room and we were talking about ice cream, the conversation then led to how our cultures view a woman’s menstrual cycle differently and compared the stigmas and knowledge surrounding it. I was able to learn that something simple we have in common can be viewed so differently. Through St. Mark’s I have also been able to understand and compare beliefs and religions of other cultures to my own, such as the celebration of Lunar New Year. Before this year I had never been surrounded by a celebration such as this and gotten to learn about it.
In learning about plastic in the ocean for my research project I gained knowledge of how humanity is compromising our future through our interactions with the earth, and the challenges we face to overcome it. But also ways I can contribute less and educate others to do the same. Every year the amount of plastic entering the ocean is equivalent to a dump truck full of plastic, emptying into the ocean every minute (McCarthy 2017). These plastics are all items we use every day and then dispose of without considering the repercussions. Courses of action that people can follow to contribute less to ocean pollution are to simply avoid buying plastic-packaged products such as single granola bars, recycle the plastic they do use, request paper bags or bring your own reusable bags to stores, use a reusable water bottle such as a Nalgene or Hydro Flask, and never litter (Andrews). If more people on a global scale become educated on this matter and make an effort to adjust their lifestyle there would be monumental growth and improvement not only in the oceans.
While developing the fictional country of Zamibia I was forced to think globally about how to create a sustainable and equitable country, while also assessing and resolving critical challenges to accomplish this. Our group had to make choices that would benefit the country and the people living there when deciding on the initiatives we wanted to include, which gave me perspective on the circumstances of other places around the world and what they have to sacrifice in order to get something, which is just given to others. When making these decisions I was also forced to consider many variables that determine not the impact something had on me, rather considering the impact it would have on others. This helped me realize the selflessness required to become a global citizen.
Identifying the obligations I have and the role I play in my community has also helped me to make conscious decisions in my community about the impacts my actions have on others, and by analyzing what my rights and liberties are as a citizen of the United States I have come to appreciate how this is not the case for everyone. I think knowing about your role in the community helps you to make more selfless decisions because you consider other people and not just yourself.
While I understand that at this time I am nowhere near a perfect global citizen, as I have done very little to actually better my community locally and globally, with the knowledge I have gained through this course I will have many strategies to change this. With the many resources I have acquired through St. Mark’s, I will be able to reach out to others more effectively with more knowledge, background, and understanding.
Up until now, I have never deeply considered the impact my actions and my inactions have on the world. I have only understood how I impact my small community in Vermont and my family and friends here. But now, I have perspective, understanding, and appreciation for everything it means to be a global citizen and what it requires. With this, I will attempt to influence the people around me so that I can then influence those around them.
Carlisle Brush is a IV Form boarding student from Leicester, Vermont. She plays on the varsity soccer, hockey, and lacrosse teams here at St. Marks. In her free time she likes to be with friends and family.