It started out in Florida in 2010, born out of revulsion at the prospect of oil rigs in the near offshore. That February, more than 10,000 concerned citizens just said "no," linking hands on dozens of beaches across the state, drawing a literal line in the sand. Mere months later, in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the protest went global, with more than 1,000 events in all 50 states and 42 countries on every continent except Antarctica.
Tomorrow they're doing it again, with a focus on offshore drilling's broader context: dependence on fossil fuels and its major result, climate change. It's not just about pristine beaches anymore.
Hands is the brainchild of Panhandle surfer/restaurateur Dave Rauschkolb. Alarmed by a Florida House measure lifting restrictions on ocean drilling in 2009, he reached out, stirred the pot and struck a popular nerve. The measure died in the Florida Senate.
But though we're unlikely to see rigs off the coast anytime soon, 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. According to the May 10 New York Times:
The level of the most important heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere, carbon dioxide, has passed a long-feared milestone, scientists reported Friday, reaching a concentration not seen on the earth for millions of years.
Call us Chicken Little if you like. You'll only be one more fool in the parade of climate change denialists. Or wake up and smell the carbon. Take to the beaches Saturday. The choice is clear: Hands Across the Sand. Or heads in the sand.
Contact and other information on Hands Across the Sand in seven different locations 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 Palm Beach County. Got feedback or a tip? Contact Fire.Ant@BrowardPalmBeach.com.
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