An annual green event that started in Florida in 2010 now spans the globe, uniting people of many lands in a cry for energy sanity and environmental preservation.
Hands Across the Sand has grown -- by the dictates of geography and the interlocking dimensions of its concerns -- to include Hands Across the Land, and takes place tomorrow in 46 locations throughout the U.S. and seven nations overseas.
A non-partisan demonstration (though we don't expect Marco Rubio to attend) the day's purpose is:
to ask the President and local officials to reject the use of dirty fuels in ALL processes. Ask the President to reject expanding offshore drilling, seismic blasting, hydraulic fracturing, Keystone XL pipeline, Tar Sands extraction and all other dirty fuel projects that threaten our communities and destabilize our climate.
The brainchild of Panhandle surfer/restaurateur Dave Rauschkolb, Hands was first prompted by a 2009 Florida House proposal to lift restrictions on ocean drilling. Rauschkolb organized protests, struck a popular nerve, and the measure died in the Florida Senate. The movement was further galvanized in the spring of 2010, by the BP oil spill, and went global.
We're unlikely to see rigs off the coast anytime soon, but the nation and the world's fossil fuels habit -- and the resulting emission of heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere -- has only grown worse. While U.S. emissions have abated slightly in the aftermath of the 2008 recession, the continuing industrialization of emerging economies has added to the problem. The latest news -- that the decay of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet means "at least 4 feet of accelerating global sea level rise within the next two-plus centuries, and at least 10 feet of rise in the end" -- has dire implications for South Florida:
More than half of the area of 40 large cities (population over 50,000) is less than 10 feet above the high tide line, from Virginia Beach and Miami (the largest affected), down to Hoboken, N.J. (smallest). Twenty-seven of the cities are in Florida, where one-third of all current housing sits below the critical line -- including 85 percent in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Each of these counties is more threatened than any whole state outside of Florida - and each sits on bedrock filled with holes, rendering defense by seawalls or levees almost impossible.
Call us Chicken Little if you like. Or wake up and smell the carbon. Take to the beaches Saturday. Hands Across the Sand. Or heads in the sand.
Contact and other information on Hands Across the Sand in in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade can be found here.
Fire Ant -- an invasive species, tinged bright red, with an annoying, sometimes-fatal sting -- covers South Florida news and culture. Got feedback or a tip? Contact Fire.Ant@BrowardPalmBeach.com.