We've all seen the interactive map that places the Gulf oil spill on top of your hometown or region. (Around here, it would span from Lawrence, Mass, to Calais -- and westward into New Hampsire and Vermont.)
Here's another way of reconceptualizing the BP disaster: in terms of energy wasted. EnergySavvy.com, a Web site that provides energy-efficiency resources for home owners and energy contractors, calculated that "the energy contained in the biggest oil spill in US history is equal to the energy that just 75,000 homes waste in a single year," which "represent less than 0.1 percent of all
single-family homes in the U.S. or the number of homes in a single
mid-sized U.S. city, like Providence, R.I., or Chattanooga, Tenn. Doing
energy retrofits to make those homes efficient would save the
equivalent of the entire Gulf Oil Spill every year on a permanent basis."
Furthermore, the cost to do such retrofits (about $1 billion, they say), is significantly less than the tens of billions that experts say it will cost to clean up BP's mess.