Here's a map of the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. With one click you can visualize how far reaching the spill is expressed by superimposing the area covered in oil over any location you can type into the tool.
Looking at it with Victoria as the epicentre is a startling sight, enveloping southern Vancouver Island, sailing into Puget Sound and washing up Georgia Strait and out of the mouth of Juan de Fuca. You could imagine its shape here altered, with a further reach than the open space of the Gulf site. Here it would make landfall and be pushed deeper into the Sound, further up the straits and along coastal Vancouver Island and Washington State. Not a pretty picture.
Suddenly, the catastrophic external costs of the fossil fuel economy are again in the news, even if they are fading from the front pages.
Here's another example of the high cost of oil: http://www.flickr.com/photos/luton/4726540344/
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