A Line in the Sand is a Powerful Thing
The last weekend in June, people in 39 U.S. states and 20 countries around the globe gathered for Hands Across the Sand events like the one in Seattle, above and below, joining hands to show their support for protecting coastal economies, oceans, marine wildlife and fisheries.
Participants called on world leaders to halt to the expansion of offshore oil drilling and an embrace clean energy solutions instead of deepening our global reliance on polluting fossil fuels.
"What are we trying to accomplish?" asks the Hands Across the Sand website. "On a local, national and global level, joining hands sends a powerful visual message of human solidarity to our nation's leaders. We are unified in the defense of the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we consume from dangerous, dirty energy sources. Every time we join hands that message is reinforced. It's simple and logical: embrace clean energy. A line in the sand is a powerful thing."
Among the 218 official Hands Across the Sands events in the U.S. was the gathering at Alki Beach in West Seattle, put together by Sierra Club organizers Graham Taylor and Anastasia Schemkes, below. About 65 people turned out for the event, which was covered by local television and print media, including the five o'clock and eleven o'clock news on KIRO7-TV.
The snub didn't dampen Taylor's enthusiasm, though. "The event was a great success," he says. "It was exciting to see people getting out to Puget Sound to say how much they love the Sound and want to see it protected. They were standing in unity with coastal communities worldwide to speak out against offshore oil drilling and promote healthy, sustainable energy alternatives that don't create the kind of pollution we get from fossil fuels."
The program included an introduction to the Sierra Club's Resilient Habitats Campaign by Taylor and a pep talk about the Club's Beyond Oil Campaign by Schemkes. "If we transition to clean energy sources and away from offshore oil drilling and spills from tankers and refineries, it's good for wildlife and the health of Puget Sound," Taylor told the crowd.
Schemkes spoke about the Go60MPG campaign to achieve fuel-efficiency standards of at least 60 miles-per-gallon by 2025, and urged people to take action by reducing their personal use of fossil fuels and lobbying the Obama administration for higher fuel-efficiency standards. Nearly all the participants signed Go60MPG postcards.
Other featured speakers included Stacy Noland of the Moontown Foundation, at right below, who spoke about his experience interviewing Gulf Coast residents for a documentary film he is creating to highlight the destruction oil spills have brought to coastal communities, and Tom Bancroft, below left, executive director of People for Puget Sound and formerly chief scientist for the Audubon Society, who spoke about the inevitability of future spills if we continue to rely on offshore oil drilling.
All photos by Rakesh Malik.