Engaged Buddhism-How to Help with the Gulf Oil Disaster

One of the things that attracted me to Thich Nhat Hanh was his embodiment of what he called “engaged Buddhism.” While Buddhist monastic life and retreats have their crucial place, our day-to-day actions and their kamma are what show whether we are developing sila—the moral and ethical awakening this is every bit as important as concentration and insight.

Countless Beings, Great and Small, Are Depending on Us!

In this light, I want to speak about the growing environmental tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico. I’m sure we’ve  all been staggered by the sheer scale of the disaster, as every two to three days the ruptured BP oil well spews out the same amount of oil as the entire Alaskan Exxon Valdez oil spill!  And yet, BP and others keep downplaying the extent of the catastrophe:

Oil-eating Microbes Can Help!

I’ve just made a highly informative post on the oil spill at Goodheart’s Extreme Science (link below).  I hope you will take a look, because it offers ways we can help and urge officials to take effective actions that have not been implemented yet. Specially, this post argues that we need to enlist the aid of nature herself in the form of oil-eating microbes.

These amazing little beings have already proven themselves hugely effective at other oil spills, as is explained in a very important video I’ve embedded in the post. Please take a look at:

The BP Oil Disaster—Send in the Microbes!

So often we may feel helpful in the face of huge problems, but here’s a case were we can urge officials and the government to expand their efforts and consider all technologies in battling the oil.  The embedded video in the post demonstrates how effective these amazing little beings have been in helping with past oil spills.

No doubt most readers of this blog are already sending their prayers and spiritual energies to the Gulf and every being there. When things feel overwhelming it’s so important that we not underestimate what prayers and directed loving-kindness meditation can do to bring a healing.  The people of the Gulf, and the countless beings, great and small, affected by this catastrophe need our help in every way.


About Steven Goodheart

"I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them." Spinoza

4 Responses to “Engaged Buddhism-How to Help with the Gulf Oil Disaster”

  1. Steven, Thank you for this post.

    I’ve also been writing about some ways that we can respond to this tragic situation — see http://jizochronicles.wordpress.com/2010/05/29/urgent-call-to-action-bodhisattvas-needed-in-the-gulf-area/

    with appreciation,

  2. The Destructionist Reply 2010/06/08 at 5:47 PM

    As the oil spill in the Gulf grows larger and more deadly, decimating all that it touches, BP continues to turn down assistance from Americans who just want to help clean up the mess. (…I hear they even turned down Director James Cameron and actor Kevin Costner…)

    First let’s get one thing perfectly straight: If you want to go and help clean up the oil spill, don’t let some corporate Big-Whigs “handle” you into believing that you’d be more of a liability, than an asset. I applaud you for recognizing that we all depend on our oceans for our very survival. It is this water that sustains every living thing on our planet, and it is also this water that we must protect in order to save ourselves from extinction.

    BP has downplayed the problem in the Gulf from the beginning as a means of corporate damage control. I don’t think they’ve yet recognized the severity of the problem. As I’ve written in past blog posts; the pipe needs to be capped and the relief well needs to be drilled. It’s not an exact science by any means, and if BP doesn’t get it right the first time, they’ll have to do it over, and over, and over again, until they do. How many months (or years) will that take? How much damage will have been done to our environment by then? We’ve already seen what 51 days of oil can do to the Gulf of Mexico… What would happen if the oil was left, unabated, for several months, or years? It’s a frightening example of corporate greed gone awry and it’s criminal, pure and simple.

    Corporations should never be allowed the opportunity to risk the lives of everyone on the planet just to make a profit for a few shareholders. (What good is money, after all, if you don’t have air to breathe, water to drink, or food to eat without fear of contamination?)

    BREAKING NEWS: I’ve just heard that those enormous plumes floating just under the surface of the water have been certified by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (N.O.A.A.) as crude oil.

    (Are we just casual witnesses to our own demise? I wonder…)

  3. great post. thank you Steven, as always you soothe our hearts and call us to love the world.

    • Thanks, brother Eli. I’ve seen you do the same thing, again, and again, and again, with your sermons and blog.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      With warm metta for you and your good work,

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