This past weekend I gathered with my neighbors at a nearby beach to attend a local Hands Across the Sand event, a worldwide effort to oppose offshore drilling and champion clean and renewable energy. The movement began, eerily enough, in Florida. Just a few months before the tragic BP oil spill, thousands of Floridians joined hands to protest the local and national governments’ efforts to lift the ban on oil drilling off the shores of Florida.
Not surprisingly, today that movement has spread far and wide as people witness daily the threat that oil drilling presents to America’s coastal economies and marine habitat. On Saturday, protestors around the world gathered at one of the more than 800 events held to clasp hands, drawing both a metaphorical and actual line in the sand against the threat of offshore drilling.
The hope is that the gesture will help convince our government that we’re serious about the need to preserve some of America’s most valuable assets—our coastal areas—by halting the expansion of offshore drilling and adopting policies that encourage the development of clean and renewable sources of energy.
As I stood there with my fellow protestors, I could only think of the vast beauty that surrounded me and what was at risk if America continued on its path of exploiting dirty energy sources. Looking at the blackened seaweed that had washed up along the shore, it was hard not to think of the oily black tar balls that are currently washing up all along the Gulf coast. I could only imagine how I would feel if those seaweed blobs were instead the remnants of an oily explosion.
It made me angry, but also scared that another oil spill was bound to happen unless Americans start demanding a clean energy future—a sentiment that I’m sure the people around me shared.