We live in a globalized world. We eat foods produced across the globe; we use electronics whose components come from dozens of places around the world; we can communicate instantaneously with anyone anywhere who has a computer with
wi fi or a cell phone.
With globalization has come awareness. We can quickly know about the conditions under which people live and work in other countries. We can find out about the plight of other species, or about pollution or deforestation. If the nightly news doesn't report on these issues, we can discover them through our computers in minutes. Knowing so much changes us. Or at least has the potential to change us. It enables us to be less tribal, provincial, and self-cantered; to think of others outside our family, neighbourhood, and even nation; to dwell as often on those we affect as on what affects us.
This is a good thing, but it's not an easy thing. Being aware of global atrocities, suffering, and destruction is hard and requires commitment, will, and effort. Being focused primarily on oneself and one's family, friends, and associates comes more naturally and easily. After all, we've evolved with this tribal mentality for millennia.
The problem is that this sort of modern tribalism backfires in a globalized world. We are not only complicit in the warming of our planet, the toxins entering our waterways, the exploitation of others in distant lands, which breeds conflict, resentment, and hostility; we are also ultimately negatively affected by these things. – Zoe Weil