Allison Kilkinney - As BP CEO Tony Hayward demonstrated, many people remain ignorant about the magnitude of unseen damage the underwater oil geyser is inflicting upon the ocean’s ecosystem right now. Hayward’s comment that the oil patch is “relatively tiny” compared to the “very big ocean” probably represents the views of many Americans.
Sanitized language like “patch,” “spill,” and “plume” make this terrible event seem more like a minor inconvenience – like a baby spilling a glass of milk. It’s adorable, really, except when it’s beautiful or delicious i.e. when it’s being described by Rep. Gene Taylor as “a light, rainbow sheen with patches that look like chocolate milk.”
Meanwhile, the “patch” is now larger than Maryland and Delaware, combined. The AP is desperately trying to depict the magnitude of this event by using an array of easy-to-envision examples: Read more.