The latest effort to contain the oil spill that has poured millions of gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico encountered a setback 5,000 feet underwater, officials said Saturday, meaning oil will continue gushing into the ocean for at least several more days, and possibly months. –New York Times, May 9, 2010

In March I reviewed the book Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil. If you didn’t catch it then I encourage you to add this important book to your reading list.

The human impact from our past actions continues to harm the most vulnerable people the most severely. The damage we inflict on people and communities in other nations, and the damage we inflict on the environment, because of our addiction to oil is staggering and unconscionable. Sadly, we (meaning the human species) don’t tend to take serious action to change our habits without being confronted with catastrophe. I can only hope that the catastrophe that is currently unfolding in the Gulf will lead to a fundamental shift in our national conversation regarding energy reform.

For a quick primer on how this crisis, combined with national and worldwide policies regarding energy, may play out I also recommend this article in The New Republic: The Crisis Comes Ashore: Why the oil spill could change everything.

It is understandable that the administration will be focused on the immediate crisis in the Gulf of Mexico. But this is a consciousness-shifting event. It is one of those clarifying moments that brings a rare opportunity to take the longer view. Unless we change our present course soon, the future of human civilization will be in dire jeopardy. Just as we feel a sense of urgency in demanding that this ongoing oil spill be stopped, we should feel an even greater sense of urgency in demanding that the much larger and more dangerous ongoing emissions of global warming pollution must also be stopped to make the world safe from the climate crisis that is building all around us.