The second annual “Hands Across the Sand” will be celebrated this Saturday, June 25, and at four different beachfront locations in South Carolina.
Interested persons in the greater Charleston area can simply take Folly Rd straight to Folly Beach, where the event will take place next to the pier.
In Myrtle Beach, participants can gather at Plyler Park at the end of Mr. Joe White Ave. Participants in N Myrtle Beach are requested to meet on the beach between Spanish Galleon and the Arcade. The south end of Hilton Head Island, using Coligny Beach at the end of Pope Ave., is the fourth location in South Carolina.
Attendees should arrive at 11 a.m.; the joining of hands begins at 12 noon, and will last for 15 minutes.
“Hands Across the Sand” was created last year by Dave Rauschkolb in efforts to increase awareness of the risks of offshore drilling, and to promote clean energy alternates, too.
A beachfront restaurant owner and avid surfer, Rauschkolb founded “Hands Across the Sand” last year in protest to proposed offshore drilling off the coast of Florida, his home state. He quickly gained support, as approximately 10,000 participated in last year’s event in Florida alone. The protest was conducted worldwide, too.
His protest isn’t simply about the damage offshore drilling would do to his business or his hobby, though. And it’s not meant to be a declaration of personal political opinions.
“This movement is not about politics; it is about the protection of our coastal economies, oceans, marine wildlife and fisheries,” Rauschkolb says. “The accidents that continue to happen in offshore oil drilling are a threat to all of the above. Expanding offshore oil drilling is not the answer, embracing Clean Energy is.
“Oil and coal are the largest polluters on the Earth threatening the quality of air we breathe, the water that we drink and the food that nourishes us,” Rauschkolb declares. “Safe food, clean water and clean air are the essential fundamental elements of our survival as a species. Offshore oil spills, the burning of fossil fuels and coal burning power plants present a threat to all of the above.”
The topic of Saturday’s demonstration is of high applicability in South Carolina.
In anticipation of removal of offshore drilling restrictions, in April a state senate panel passed measure directing the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee to improve the simplicity of drilling applications.
A federal bill to expand offshore oil drilling failed to pass the U.S. senate last month, however, but is likely to be reintroduced.
Even if the federal bill remains stalled, South Carolina’s beaches would remain at risk to drilling for natural gas, however, which was included in the state bill. According to a study completed last year, deposits of natural gas could be obtained about 50-to-70 miles off the state’s coast.
How far offshore the drilling occurs is irrelevant, though, opponents say. As Rep. Jim Clyburn has stated at community gatherings with constituents, “they still need to bring it onshore,” leaving the same risk of coastal damage in the process.
According to the Southern Environmental Law Center, offshore drilling would not only be environmentally damaging – pollution, damage to wetlands and salt marshes – but it would be economically pointless, too.
Independent studies find that the crude oil potentially available from the entire Atlantic Coast would only produce six months’ worth of gasoline. Natural gas extracted from the same region would only last 18 months, as well.
Any leaks or just the chemicals regularly used in operation on offshore drills would damage the fishing industry, too, SELC says.
Contact information for the hosts of each event can be obtained from the “Hands Across the Sand” website.
To date 39 states, Dist. of Columbia and Puerto Rico are scheduled to participate, as are 17 other countries across six different continents.