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At some “Hands Across the Sand” protests today there was no sand

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Today around the world at noon local time groups are coming together to join hands in a statement of solidarity against further offshore oil development and for green energy as an alternative.

Scores of people line up in front of the White House to protest offshore oil and advocate for green energy

On June 25, 2011 scores of people line up in front of the White House to protest offshore oil and advocate for green energy

At at least one of the “Hands Across the Sand” events there were scores of protesters but the beach was more than an hour away. In front of the White House, organized by a local chapter of Surfrider and the Oceana ‘s  DC office, scores of people came out on a sunny Saturday to hold hands with like-minded people to send a message that the status quo where the major emphasis offshore has been drilling our way to energy independence. Stretching out for more than a city block people joined hands in front of the White House gates and shouted protest chants.

When people chanted “clean energy now” apparently, from the mock windmills many people were holding, green energy means offshore wind – an option that while theoretically aided by Secretary Ken Salazar’s Smart from the Start initiative, is still slow in coming online in the U.S.

A Widening Base of Support

As the history from the event’s website states “The Movement Started In Florida. In Florida on Saturday, February 13, 2010, a statewide gathering against near and offshore oil drilling occurred.  10,000 Floridians representing 60 towns and cities and over 90 beaches joined hands to protest the efforts by the Florida Legislature and the US Congress to lift the ban on oil drilling in the near and off shores of Florida.”

One thing that is clear from today’s Hands Across the Sand events is that support for protecting our oceans by limiting offshore fossil fuel extraction and promoting alternatives – sometimes called blue-green energy – have wide geographic support.  In states such as Florida and California this wouldn’t be much of a surprise, but when you look at Hands Across the Sand’s lineup of events occurring today you see places where people are linking up at locations like the great coastal states of Colorado, Wyoming and Missouri.  Not your typical places for protests about issues that are too often seen as important to only those who live on the shoreline. But the reality that many people enjoy having healthy coasts, whether through vacations to coastal destinations or simply back home through the pleasure of consuming healthy seafood, and that those same people are not pleased with ongoing plans to develop the offshore US with additional oil and gas extraction.

But don’t focus too much on this being solely an issue in the U.S.  Take South Africa for example, where earlier today they has their Hand Across the Sand in brisk 15 deg. C  weather. You can see the global reach of this expanding grassroots phenomenon at the Hands Across the Sand international site.

The author is a scientist by training and the owner of W.H. Nuckols Consulting, an environmental policy firm.
A bio for Mr. Nuckols is located at www.WilliamHNuckols.com

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Written by Will Nuckols

June 25, 2011 at 5:57 pm