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When it comes to ecology, I’m a firm believer in applying biblical principles of stewardship to the environment. Although it is not always obvious what principles should apply, I believe one of the first is to develop a realistic and accurate assessment of man’s effects on our environment. We should not downplay the damage we cause but neither should we overstate our impact in order to achieve political purposes.

Unfortunately, misinformation about the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been used as a political cudgel to beat both the Obama Administration and the oil companies. While everyone responsible should be held accountable and should do everything in their power to fix the mess, we should keep the event in its proper perspective. Paul Schwennesen provides a useful analogy :

Picture your neighbor’s pool.  Unless you live in Malibu, it’ll contain about 6,000 gallons.  That’s the “Gulf” for purposes of discussion.  Now go to your garage, get a quart of oil and pour it in when he’s not looking.  Pretty good sense of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, right?

Nope, not even close.  Put a drop of that oil onto a sheet of paper and carefully cut it in half.  Now do it again and toss that quarter of a drop into the deep end.  Even this quarter droplet (about the size of the comma in this sentence) is about 10% too large, but NOW you have a sense of what 4.9 million barrels of oil in the Gulf looks like. [1]

Now that we’ve grappled with the issue of scale, let’s look at the aftermath of this ‘catastrophe.’  According to the government scientists, seventy-five percent of that sliver of a droplet has now evaporated, been eaten by microbes, skimmed or burnt. (This estimate is  in dispute , but every day the released oil is being reduced to get to that figure, if not beyond it.)

Now, you’re going to need to borrow your kid’s microscope for the rest of this exercise . . . .

Read more . . .

(Via: League of Ordinary Gentlemen )

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