It was a BEAUTIFUL Saturday in Panama City Beach, and if one didn’t watch the news (or follow pcbdaily), one might have no idea oil from the Deep Water Horizon is looming in the Gulf, posing a serious threat to our coastal living.
On June 26, 2010, hundreds gathered behind Spinnaker Beach Club to draw a line in the sand to say “No to new offshore oil drilling, and Yes to clean energy “. How did they do this? By joining hands.
In addition to those behind Spinnaker, Panama City Beach supporters gathered at Laguna Beach, Pier Park, and various other beaches. But that’s only sand in a dune compared to the big picture. Over one hundred thousand people are estimated to have gathered at over 900 events, including all states in the US, and 37 countries outside the US.
Hands Across the Sand was founded by Dave Rauschkolb, owner of Bud & Alleys, a popular restaurant just a couple of towns west of us in Seaside, FL. Before anyone heard of “Deep Water Horizon”, Florida legislation was being proposed that would allow offshore oil drilling off Florida’s coast – as close as 3 miles from our shoreline. On Februrary 13 2010, the first Hands Across the Sand event came together, with over 60 events primarily around Florida.
A little more than four months and one horrific offshore oil disaster later, Hands Across the Sand has become not only an organization Floridians may hear about around town or on Facebook, but an organization millions have heard of or read about by means of CNN, The New York Times, and others. Musician, surfer, and clean energy supporter, Jack Johnson promoted the event on his social networking avenues, and created a huge influx of inbound traffic to handsacrossthesand.com.
With the uncertainty that Gulf residents are facing, there has been a fair share of negativity. Lots of blame. Lots of tears. And lots of frustration.
But on Saturday, all that was put aside for a peaceful show of protest, joining Hands Across the Sand.
Angie Caughlin is a web development consultant at CYber SYtes.