– Erin Brockovich is an environmental investigator and activist and Ben Adlin writes social commentary and is a former Coro Fellow in Public Affairs. Any opinions expressed here are their own. —

As the wreckage of the now-infamous wellhead continues to spew oil and gas into the Gulf of Mexico, evidence of environmental fallout comes streaming in.

Pictures of oil-soaked pelicans and dying dolphins emphasize our blight on land and sea.

We face the chilling realization that some sheared-off pipe at the ocean floor, a chimney stuck in the mud a mile beneath the dark slicks on the surface, might bleed millions more gallons of crude over months to come.

The world rightly takes pause at such a wound on the face of our planet. A moment of silence is due. But it’s important we see the disaster as a call to action and not merely an excuse for despair. Stewardship was clearly overlooked on the way to this disaster. We must not ignore it again.