Hand in hand, lobby groups band together for clean energy

A past Hands Across the Sand at Emerald Isle. Photo: Sue Pierre

Clean energy supporters have a chance to speak out against fossil fuels on Saturday at this year’s Hands Across the Sand.

Hands Across the Sand is part of a national movement founded in 2009 by Floridian Dave Rauschkolb. Every year, on the third Saturday in May, those who want to draw what organizers call “real, metaphorical lines in the sand” line up to shake hands in silence for 15 minutes.

Dozens of synchronized events planned by local organizers are scheduled to take place across the country on Saturday, including four in North Carolina. Events are scheduled at Wrightsville Beach, Emerald Isle, Surf City and Oak Island.

Although organizers have held virtual events for the past few years due to COVID-19, supporters will be back in person this year.

Wrightsville Beach

Surfrider Foundation Cape Fear Chapter and Save Our Sea NC are teaming up to host the Hands Across the Sand event on Saturday at Wrightsville Beach.

Participants can meet at 8:30 a.m. on the sand at Stone Street Beach Access to stand together along the shore for 15 minutes. A group photo will be taken followed by a beach cleanup. Parking is free at Wrightsville Beach Baptist Church, 601 Causeway Drive, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Marked spaces should not be used.

Surfrider Foundation Cape Fear Chapter board member Amanda Jacobs told Coastal Review on Friday that the organization has been involved in Hands Across the Sand since the first event in 2010 and continues to be because it raises awareness. the world to the dangers of fossil fuels to our rivers, oceans and waterways.

She said she hopes attendees will learn that “our environment, especially where we live on the coast, is fragile and our decisions not only impact us, but also our environment. There are clean energy resources available to us and they are worth seeking out.

Jacobs explained that during COVID, events were limited to very small groups, and they haven’t been able to hold this event for a few years. “We look forward to hosting again this year,” she added.

During the event, there will be a brief discussion of Hands Across the Sand and the two wind farm leases off the North Carolina-South Carolina coast up for auction on Wednesday, as well as a group photo and a sweep of the beach. She recommended that attendees bring “sunscreen and a smile.”

“This event was particularly significant under the Trump administration as they were pushing for more drilling on our particular coast. In the past two days the first two wind farm leases have been granted in North Carolina, which the Surfrider Foundation is ready to explore,” added Jacobs.

The provisional winners of the two leases in the Carolina Long Bay wind energy area were TotalEnergies Renewables USA, LLC, which offered $160 million and Duke Energy Renewables Wind, LLC, with an offer of $155 million, announced Wednesday the Ministry of the Interior.

Clean energy supporters can join others Saturday at four locations on the North Carolina coast to say no to fossil fuels at the Hands Across the Sand event.
Clean energy supporters stand at a previous Hands Across the Sand event. Photo: Surfrider Foundation Cape Fear Chapter

Emerald Isle

The Emerald Isle Hands Across the Sand is to promote a clean energy future around the world, show support for improved water quality, reduce plastic pollution on North Carolina beaches and “supporting clean energy to leave our beach cleaner than when we arrived so we can enjoy it for generations to come,” organizers said.

Registration will be held at the Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier, beginning at 11:15 a.m. At 11:45 p.m. there will be a brief discussion of the event and everyone will begin lining up. At noon, everyone shake hands if they are comfortable or stand 6 feet apart in the line for 15 minutes. The event will conclude with a beach sweep until 1 p.m.

To raise awareness of the causes of harmful pollution, representatives will be present at the event from Business Alliance Protecting the Atlantic Coast, Carteret Big Sweep, Citizens Protecting the Atlantic Coast, Coastal Carolina Riverwatch, Unitarian Coastal Fellowship, Croatan Group Sierra Club, Emerald Isle Parrotheads, Emerald Isle Realty, EI Turtle Patrol, Interfaith Power and Light, Island Essentials, North Carolina Coastal Federation, Oceana, South Swell Surf Shop and Surf Rider Foundation.

Sabrina Hylton, Director of Guest Services for Emerald Isle Realty, has been hosting Hands Across The Sand in the town of Bogue Banks since 2018.

“I started this at Bogue Inlet Pier as a personal initiative to make those already on the sand enjoying our beautiful beaches aware of their impact,” she said in an interview on Friday. “I was not prepared for it to spread like it has. That first year we had around 50 participants on the sand, in 2019 we had almost 225.”

After being encouraged by Julia Batten Wax, owner of Emerald Isle Realty, Hylton said she began to connect with other local people and organizations that helped promote the mission. She added that Joel Dunn, with the Sierra Club North Carolina Croatan and Coastal Carolina Riverwatch group, was invaluable in organizing the supporters and putting together the flyer.

She noted that the Hands Across the Sand organization had decided to hold the event virtually for the past two years due to COVID. For those who want to attend this year, Hylton said any precautions one wants to take to make them feel comfortable are welcome.

“So many families save all year to spend just one week in our little piece of paradise. We hope everyone will better understand the importance of keeping our beautiful coastline intact and support practices and policies that help protect the coast from things you can see, like litter, and things that aren’t immediately visible. , like climate change,” Hyton says. “Everything we do, from trash to noise, to air and water pollution, to the simple act of digging holes in the sand, has an impact on our waterways, l coastal ecology, and the quality and shape of our beaches “Leave only your footprints” is an excellent rule of thumb.

Hylton added that Mike Stanly, owner of the Bogue Inlet pier, is reimbursing parking fees for everyone who participates in Hands Across The Sand. “You’ll get a ticket when you pay and tell you where to park. Simply return this ticket before 1 p.m. to receive your parking fee.

surf town

Participants wishing to join Hands Across the Sand in Surf City should meet at 102 N. Shore Drive, next to the Surf City Welcome Center, at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

“Form lines with us on May 21, 2022 for the beaches of Surf City, riverbanks, steps and fields of the capital to say NO to fossil fuels and YES to clean energy,” the Facebook event reads. . Chris Medlin is listed as a contact and can be reached by email at [email protected]

Medlin told Coastal Review on Friday that this is its fourth year of hosting, although there were no events last year due to COVID.

Newcomers to the event can expect to see a group of people coming together “to show that we are in favor of clean renewable energy”.

He hopes locals understand that “we have the ability and the means to stop drilling and seismic testing off our coasts and that renewable energy is the future.”

Oak Island

On Oak Island, Hands Across the Sand participants are scheduled to meet at 11:30 a.m. at 4601 E. Beach Drive. Pete Key is listed as a contact and can be reached by email at [email protected]

David Rauschkolb

Floridian Dave Rauschkolb said in a statement that he founded Hands Across The Sand in October 2009 in response to a bill passed in the Florida House of Representatives that would lift a ban on near-shore drilling.

“With the support of sponsor organizations, we gathered over 10,000 Floridians to join hands on February 13, 2010, to show united opposition to near shore drilling. The event covered the state’s coastlines, from the Atlantic to the Gulf. Thanks to these efforts, the bill was tabled the following month,” he said. “Two months later, the BP Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. We then organized a global Hands Across The Sand conference to urge President Barack Obama to abandon his attempt to open the continental United States to offshore oil drilling.

Since the BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster in 2010, Hands Across the Sand has incorporated land issues including fracking, mountaintop clearing and coal.

Hands Across the Sand is “particularly salient this year with the recent oil spill off the California coast and President Biden’s plan to open an offshore lease that will expand offshore drilling to nearly every square inch of the U.S. coastline and the ‘assault on public lands’, according to the 2022 press release.


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