On Saturday more than 150 people drew a line in the sand against fossil fuels, and specifically against off-shore oil drilling.
They gathered on Paradise Beach in Indialantic to link hands, forming a human chain as part of Hands Across the Sand, sponsored by the Surfrider Foundation.
This year, 98 events took place in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Belize, Australia and Greece. Florida alone hosted 30 events – more than any other state in the country.
By sponsoring the event, Surfrider’s goal is to promote a clean energy future across the world with less of a reliance on petroleum-based fuels.
Before joining hands, the group cleaned the beach, collecting 24 pounds of trash.
Shannon Shneyder is part of Surfrider’s Sebastian Inlet Chapter. She likes to invite students to attend because it provides an opportunity to teach the younger generation how spilled oil hurts the ocean and the creatures who live in it.
“Just the seismic testing which is done to map offshore oil and gas reserves involves blasting the seafloor with high-powered air guns every 10 seconds and, in the process, it deafens, injures and kills marine mammals and other wildlife around the clock for years on end,” Shneyder said. “We explain this to the kids.”
They also teach another serious lesson with something a little less serious – chocolate syrup. Surfrider brings along enough of the brown, gooey liquid to pour on willing participants in a mock oil spill.
In 2010, the BP Deepwater Horizon spilled millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, killing and injuring countless marine life, fish, turtles and birds. Seabirds who got even a small amount of oil on their feathers often couldn’t fly, swim or dive for food.
Hands Across the Sand was founded in 2010, just after the BP disaster, by Dave Rauschkolb, a restaurateur from Seaside, Florida.
“People came together to join hands, forming symbolic barriers against spilled oil and to stand against the impacts of other forms of extreme energy,” Shneyder said. “There’s a rising tide of grassroots activism demanding that we choose a clean energy future over the dangerous and dirty fuels of the 20th century. The coalition of organizations, activists and citizens around the world bring the message of clean energy to local and world leaders.”