Zoe Weil is a blogger for Psychology Today (PT), and twice a month we share her blog posts here. Enjoy!

We live in a globalized world. We eat foods produced across the planet; buy clothes that circle the Earth through the many aspects of their production; and use electronics whose components are mined and assembled in numerous nations.

If we are inclined to try to live by the golden rule – to do unto others as we would have them do unto us – globalization offers a challenge. Generally, we know what it looks like to treat our friends, family, and colleagues with respect and compassion (and that can be challenging enough at times!), but what does the golden rule look like when applied to people, ecosystems, and animals whose lives are connected to us through an intricate web of economics, production, agriculture, transportation, and politics?

The reason why it’s important to ask this question is that, despite our best intentions, we may be contributing to cruelty and suffering far removed from our view, and therefore invisible to us. Unless we are willing to inquire about the impacts of our everyday choices, we will never know if we are making others’ lives bleak (or worse).

psychology today