As the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico entered its third month, people across the country turned out on beaches and shorelines to protest offshore oil drilling. In 33 countries and all 50 states, including dozens of sites in the Bay Area, the Hands Across the Sand event drew hundreds of people to join hands on Saturday, June 26, in a symbolic line at several spots in San Francisco and all over the Bay Area.
At Crissy Field, speakers and chanting attendees rallied around one message: Our country must move beyond oil within the next 20 years. “It often seems America is addicted to oil,” said East Bay Congressman John Garamendi. “If we’re willing to break our addiction and move to renewable energy, we can do it. Now is the time.”
After speeches by San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi and the Sierra Club’s Sarah Hodgdon and John Rizzo, the group moved onto the beach, creating a line across the sand that spanned the length of the shoreline.
Newscasters and photographers worked the crowd, and a helicopter even hovered overhead. Participants were young and old, and many high school and college students made it out to the beach. Not bad on a Saturday morning in the summer. “It’s worth something to say this catastrophic event could turn the way we think about oil,” said college student Brad Gee of San Francisco.
Although the event was a bit no-frills, and certainly didn’t present a concrete plan for alternatives to oil, but folks on Saturday seemed hopeful that Hands Across the Sand help fuel a shift away from the idea that fossil fuels are the only option for powering our world. “It’s time to amputate this thinking,” Ross Mirkarimi said, “and supplant it by diversifying our energy portfolio. California should lead the charge.”