BP Oil Spill and You

The BP oil spill has electrified consciousness worldwide; we are all participating in this catastrophe. As oil billows into the ocean, we are connected visually through TV with vital systems of the earth. We see the functioning of the earth’s body, the very processes of the earth’s life changing before our very eyes. Anguish and anger flood over us as images bring home the immensity of the event.

Many have felt the helplessness of the slow wheels of bureaucratic action, and of not being directly able to rescue endangered lives of birds and sea creatures. Initial shock and fury emerged at revelations of ruthless management decisions and inadequate government regulations.

Personal responsibility is harder to see; our lives, so enriched by the contributions of oil’s energy, blind us to needed changes in life styles. But life-changing shifts in awareness can overcome the numbing helplessness toward witnessing such an overwhelming event.

A fundamental principle of ecopsychology reminds us that all life on the planet is interconnected; the empowering implication is that personal changes will put us into more harmonious connections with the ecological systems that sustain all life on earth. If we don’t learn to manage our partnership with the elements of nature, it’s likely to lead to further catastrophes.

BP’s poor decisions and choices that led to this spill are not separate from our thinking and actions. Close to home, other issues exist that profoundly affect water, air, and soil health exist – to name a few, building where endangered species are threatened, willingness to overlook toxic spills into local waters, food supply that travels thousands of miles to reach us instead of food grown locally.

They’re issues that involve our life styles, and involve political and economic issues. The more crowded the planet becomes, the more important we learn to live harmoniously – not only with other human beings, but also with other life forms. In the immediacy of our own lives and environments, we can build the strength and awareness to make personal, political and economic intervention more meaningful.

The helplessness we might experience about affecting the BP oil spill can be shifted as we change our own relationship to energy, and as we attend to the local environment. Here, more immediate and direct experiences help us face the basis of the issues, and develop clarity in shaping realistic intentions for political and environmental involvement in the larger picture.

One nearby example just south of San Francisco is San Bruno Mountain, called one of 18 global hotspots of biodiversity. Here, the struggle to survive is played out, as endangered species hold the line against extinction.  Mountainwatch.org continuously defends  threatened species through educational projects, hands-on restoration, and numerous activities that provide pleasure and learning – visits to ancient shell mounds and unique plant environments, sacred dancing, meditation walks, oral tradition nights.

Over the next few months on the mountain, Circling San Francisco Bay will present two series of events that will provide opportunities from different vantage points to explore personal relationships to the wisdom embodied by endangered species.  Guided visualizations, biomimicry,  ecopsychology events that help people explore deep ecology, personal connection with the natural world.

A series called “Last of the Lineage“,  will focus on a number of endangered species on the mountain, beginning with butterflies and their habitats.  Another series, “The Feminine at this Moment of Transformation”, will begin in September, and will include among the experiences a unique journey on  San Bruno Mountain, as well as other sacred sites that surround San Francisco Bay. Applications are being taken for participation in a 2011 series of visits to six sacred sites that surround San Francisco Bay.