Tens of Thousands Join Hands Across the Sand
On Saturday, June 26, tens of thousands of people joined hands on beaches and in parks and cities across the country and around the world to recognize the tragedy of the BP oil disaster in the Gulf and call an end to offshore drilling.
Above and at top, hundreds upon hundreds form a human chain as far as the eye can see at Miami Beach. Below, Floridians gather at Destin, in the Panhandle on the state's Gulf Coast, where tarballs have begun washing ashore.
Hands Across the Sands events took place in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, as well as in 83 cities in 33 countries outside the U.S.
Co-sponsored by the Sierra Club, Hands Across the Sand was first conceived in the fall of 2009 by Florida surfer and restaurateur Dave Rauschkolb, who organized a statewide gathering in February 2010 to send a message to Florida's legislators and Governor Charlie Crist that Floridians did not want them to lift the bans on near- and offshore drilling in the state's waters.
Above, a Hands Across the Sands rally at Barefoot Beach Park, Florida. Below, clean energy advocates gather a continent away in Seattle.
Following the explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and the resulting oil spill—still uncontained and now the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history—the Sierra Club joined with Rauschkolb and other groups to organize more than 800 events in 34 countries the weekend of June 25-26.
More than 200 New Orleans residents, above linked hands in that Gulf Coast city. Below, 100 ralliers showed their solidarity in Louisville, Kentucky.
Sierra Club Rachel Martin and Frank Jackalone coordinated fellow field organizers, chapter staff, and volunteer leaders who organized hundreds of events across the country. Coastal areas, particularly in Florida, saw huge turnouts, with nearly 7,000 participants in the Tampa Bay area and another 2,000 in Miami.
Some 1,600 people gathered in Virginia, with more than 1,000 at the Virginia Beach oceanfront, below.
Events inland also drew large numbers, often between 100 and 200 people. Below, ralliers in Albuquerque.
Media response to Hands Across the Sands was overwhelming, with coverage in Time magazine, the New York Times, the Associated Press, two national stories on CNN, and local stories in hundreds of media markets around the country, with particular emphasis on local TV.
Above, Portsmouth, New Hampshire; below, 3,000 miles west in San Francisco.
As well as helping sponsor and organize Hands Across the Sands events, the Sierra Club is hosting Beyond Oil house parties and calling on President Obama to develop a plan to move America off oil in the next 20 years.
Above, Virginia Beach, Va. Below, Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii.