Editor’s Note:  This article was written in July 2010  but its message continues to be relevant today…..

The past few days have finally brought some good news regarding the Gulf oil spill.  It was two and half months ago that I first proposed some potential lessons we could draw from this event.  That article (Lessons from the Oil Spill) was written in the first few days of the catastrophe.  Little did we know how long the leak would last.

Today I went back and read that article.  Here are the major lessons I suggested we see:

  • Immediately: stop the leak, protect the environment, hold BP accountable and avoid negative political bashing.
  • Realize we need energy, we cannot immediately stop our use of oil but we need to all come together to generate solutions to meet our energy needs and our economic needs.
  • Not rule out any solutions needed to meet our energy needs in the short run no matter what our personal political opinion is, but in the long run we must wean ourselves off of oil.
  • Be reminded of the interconnectedness of all our systems on planet Earth.
  • Be open to supporting those people and animals impacted by the disaster.

Recently, the Christian Science Monitor in their July 12 edition offered their six lessons from the spill (link to article):

  • Improve our offshore policing of oil rigs.
  • Design a better oil rig.
  • Install better cleanup processes.
  • Explore new technologies for oil cleanup.
  • Channel the passions of the people through better volunteer coordination.
  • Recalibrate our energy policy.

What are the lessons you have drawn from this incident?

The oil spill has shown me once again that a common threat to our way of life can serve as a rallying call to bring us together in action.  Similar to 9/11, Katrina and Haiti; the events in the Gulf have touched the hearts and minds of people around the world, but most especially in the United States.  People have donated their time, their talents and their money to help.  Much has been written to motivate us to assist through action and through prayer.

Although we are all optimistic that the oil leak has finally been capped, the environmental cleanup continues.  Many at this point may be inclined to breathe a sigh of relief and to move on with their lives as if little had happened.  We all have a tendency to want to put crises behind us and get back to normalcy.  Moving on is good so long as we carry with us the lessons learned.  If relief drifts into complacency without action on the lessons, then we truly haven’t learned anything and are vulnerable to recreating the problem.

As we move into the next phase of the cleanup, let us all be champions of the right actions necessary to ensure this never happens again.  What are those actions?  Here are my thoughts:

Change our thinking — Move to seeing good coming out of the events.  Hold in your thoughts, your consciousness, your prayers an affirmation that both planet Earth and humanity are experiencing a healing and a call to our highest possibilities.

Take appropriate action — Within our personal sphere of influence, we should take lessons learned and implement personal changes.  Stay politically involved in how we move forward positively as a country.  Seek within our own lives to reduce our need for oil.  Look for ways to assist those who were harmed by the spill.

Resist complacency — Above all, resist the tendency to relax and continue down the path we were collectively headed prior to this catastrophe.

What are your thoughts?  What are you going to do?

Mark Gilbert

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Check out all of Mark Gilbert’s books—available at Amazon. Click here to visit his Author Page. This includes his recent one Our Spiritual Rights and Responsibilities. In this book, he offers what he suggests are the 5 basic rights we all possess by virtue of our being these spiritual beings on planet Earth — and our 2 responsibilities we all hold in relation to one another! Check it out!