Oil spill amounts in perspective

May 4, 2011

On the one-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, designer Chris Harmon puts the amount of spilled oil into perspective in this video (below). It’s mostly simplified facts and figures, but most of us probably know enough about the spill already for the numbers to be interesting.

[Video Link]

6 Comments

  • Jeremy Dunck May 4, 2011 at 9:22 am

    Carry a thermos!?

    If you care about this stuff, spend an hour or so watching this:
    http://fora.tv/2009/01/16/Saul_Griffith_Climate_Change_Recalculated

    *Then* ask yourself what can be done.

  • Great example of how not to clarify an issue. Unconnected factoids, most quite bizarre, only serve to illustrate that a sea of information makes drowning more likely than swimming. I appreciate the motivation but the execution is so bad that it undermines the cause.

    • I understand what you mean–as an overall message it is a bit garbled. But I think putting huge numbers into terms that people can more readily understand is invaluable.

      I choose to enjoy the factoids, I find them quite interesting. That the whole 3 months of spillage amounts to less than 7 hours of US oil usage is quite a shock! You can fairly quickly see that about 2/3 of a gallon was dumped for every person in the U.S. With a bit more basic math, you can see that somewhere around 3 gallons of oil is used for every person the U.S. per day. I can understand these small numbers much more easily and make a better decision as to how I would like to reduce them.

  • I shared this with my son’s HS social studies teacher. He has already showed it to his classes. Providing alternate perspectives and comparisons are an important aspect in communicating the complexity of our industrialized society.

    Personally, I think the video does a nice job of providing some of this perspective with examples that most people have some concept of (i.e. tires and milk jugs). Therefore, I both agree and disagree with some of the previous comments . . . but thanks for the follow-up links.

  • Here’s an infographic with some similar data, presented differently ..

    http://www.departmentofdatavisualization.com/#462015/BP-Oil-Spill

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