Sometimes it helps if we can visualize how bad a problem is. It’s difficult to get a sense of the scale of the BP oil spill from reading news reports. Sure, we know it’s hit the coastlines of several states and is encroaching on Florida beaches, but unless you live there it’s really hard to grasp what that means. That’s where IfItWasMyHome.com – Visualizing the BP Oil Disaster comes in handy.
Here, for example, is what the spill would look like had it happened where I live in Ann Arbor, MI:
Oh yeah, that drives it home.
Now, in fairness, it would obviously not be quite as widespread as it shows up here due to the fact that Michigan isn’t underwater and as such the dynamics of the spread would be completely different, but in terms of visualizing just how big this fucking thing is, well, it works pretty well. That’s a shit load of oil and anyone who tries to claim that it’s not an environmental disaster — something several Republicans have tried to do — needs his or her fucking head examined.
The truly sad part is that this is going to fuck up those coastlines for decades to come. Proof of that can be found in Prince William Sound. Over 20 years after the Exxon Valdez spill things look like they’re back to normal, until you dig just inches into the soil:
Twenty years after the Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil in Alaska’s Prince William Sound, oil persists in the region and, in some places, “is nearly as toxic as it was the first few weeks after the spill,” according to the council overseeing restoration efforts.
“This Exxon Valdez oil is decreasing at a rate of 0-4 percent per year,” the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council stated in a report marking Tuesday’s 20th anniversary of the worst oil spill in U.S. waters. “At this rate, the remaining oil will take decades and possibly centuries to disappear entirely.”
The council’s findings come two decades after the March 24, 1989 disaster, when the single-hulled Exxon tanker hit a reef, emptying its contents into Alaskan waters. The spill contaminated more than 1,200 miles of shoreline and killed hundreds of thousands of seabirds and marine animals.
That article is from March of last year. The spill was “only” 11 million gallons. As of this writing, the BP disaster is already estimated to be at least double that amount and it’s still flowing. It will surely go down in history as one of the worst man-made environmental disasters of all time. Just look at that map up there. Or, better yet, go to the site and put in your home town and see for yourself.
If this isn’t a good argument for increasing the funding of research and development of renewable energy sources by several fold then I don’t know what is. Need another visual aid to help? Try this one: