08 Jan Worldschooling & Ethics -Exercises in Ethical Worldschooling
Consideration and self-awareness are always the first step to making positive changes. Below are some tools you can use to better make ethical decisions, as well as some hypothetical situations to examine.
Exercises in Ethical Worldschooling
While becoming an ethical worldschooler is mostly to do with reconciling philosophical ideals, there are also physical, tangible ways you can exercise this.
The most important thing is making an effort to question your own beliefs and worldviews. Naturally, everything else will follow.
Steps to making ethical choices
Here are ten steps to help you question and define ethics (can be applied to any situation).
- Stop, identify ethical considerations
2. Clarify your goals based on your (family) morals, positions, stances
- Question the source of your goals (based on #2) (worldview, religious)
- Consider and examine if your goals are in conflict with the cultural norms of that country
5. Determine facts
6. Develop options
7. Consider consequences
8. Make a choice
9. Monitor and reflect
Ethical Travel Dilemmas
With these steps in mind, we’re going to take a look at eight ethical travel dilemmas and have a discussion about making ethical choices.
When traveling, things aren’t always black and white, and it’s important to look at things from different perspectives. We are going to present these dilemmas and invite you to contribute your thoughts, how would you approach these things as an ethical worldschooler.
Ethical travel dilemma 1: Child beggars
Let’s say that you’re in Cambodia, and a group of child beggars approach you on the street. You’ve heard rumors that in this region, they’re forced to do so, and that none of the proceeds will go to them but instead to the people that control them. However, if they return empty handed, they may be severely punished. What do you do?
Do you not give them money, knowing that it encourages and supports the exploitation of the children, or do you give anyways, knowing that the children may face abuse if you don’t?
Ethical travel dilemma 2: Taking Photos of Locals
Now you’re in Peru in the Andes. On the streets of Cusco, indigenous women with llamas and lambs ask you if you’d like to pay for a photo with them. What do you do?
Do you pay to take a photo with them, do you decline, or do you take a photo anyways?
Ethical travel dilemma 3: Foreign-owned places
If you look for lodging in Ubud on AirBnB, upwards of 90% of the properties are foreign owned. Would you stay in an AirBnB owned by a foreign investor in exchange for comfort? Or would you choose more rustic accomodations if it meant supporting the local community?
Ethical travel dilemma 4: ‘Controversial’ countries
Would you consider traveling to North Korea, Iran or Venezuela? Why? Why not? What influenced your opinion on these countries?
Ethical travel dilemma 5: Slum tours
Do slum tours help communities get out of poverty? Or do they fetishize and exploit them?
Ethical travel dilemma 6: Animal treatment
Some countries and cultures have a long running history with poor treatment of animals. Let’s look at Thailand, or Spain for example. Is it ethical to visit and participate in this behavior? Or as worldschoolers, do we choose to avoid these situations, and avoid supporting their existence, despite their cultural significance?
Ethical travel dilemma 7: Traveling to ‘dangerous’ countries
Is it ethical to travel to country that you don’t believe is dangerous, but the media insists that it is? Is it ethical to make a choice like that for you and your family?
Ethical travel dilemma 8: Local Customs
As worldschoolers, do we honor and respect local traditions, even if we might not morally agree with them? Examples would be the preparation of guinea pig, which might offend some, or the floating lantern festival of Loi Krathong, which leaves heaps of waste on riverbeds and poses an environmental threat. What would you do?
This was just an exercise. We don’t have the answers to these questions, but what’s important is that you keep asking these questions as an ethical person in this world and have these conversations with your family.