"In 2006," writes Josh Clark of HowStuffWorks.com, "the world consumed more than 3.5 billion gallons of oil each day. Sixty percent of that oil reached its destination by sea." When this system suffers the inevitable accident, breakdown, human error, or whatever, massive amounts of oil are spilled into the ocean. As explained at Wisegeek.com, "Since oil and water don't mix, the oil spreads out into a layer that hovers, as one mass, on top of the ocean...Oil slicks float on oceans and seas, covering them in a thick film of crude or refined petroleum oil." The resulting environmental damage is devastating. Often, birds are most heavily impacted and clean-up effort is sometimes just as toxic as the spill.
Another cause for oil spills and oil slicks is war. In fact, the largest oil slick in history came to be during the Gulf War: "Estimates on the volume spilled range from 42 to 462 million gallons; the slick reached a maximum size of 101 by 42 miles and was 5 inches thick. Despite the uncertainty surrounding the size of the spill, figures place it 5 to 27 times the size (in gallons spilled) of the Exxon Valdez oil spill."
Obviously, working to end war and human dependence on oil are two major steps needed to prevent oil slicks. For now, here are ten ways you can help.
Checkout How to Go Green: Volunteerism for more on helping a green cause!