Hands Across the Sand in North Wildwood, New Jersey

Hands Across the Sand is a movement with a simple message: NO to offshore oil drillingYES to clean energy. In the literal wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, there seems no better time to join hands at the waters’ edge in solidarity with others who wish to protect the world’s oceans.

I am spending a few weeks with my family at the New Jersey shore. Knowing a Hands Across the Sand event was planned for yesterday, my eldest son and protest buddy came with me in search of a gathering. We had to do a bit of searching – knowing only cross streets and that we would be looking for some unknown number gathering at 11 a.m. and holding hands beginning at noon (local time) the world over. We has just about given up when we saw this:

It looked like perhaps six or seven people off in the distance but we ran toward them and as we got closer, they looked like this:

And when we reached them, they looked like this:

My son and I joined the line and as it grew closer to noon, the line grew longer.

The mission for this event was to join hands across the sand silently for fifteen minutes, 12 p.m. to 12:15 “draw[ing] a line in the sand and embrac[ing] a clean energy future.” We held hands and even though none of us had signs or chanted anything, people asked, “Is this about the oil spill?” Strangers saw a line of strangers holding hands looking out into the Atlantic Ocean and knew: yes, this is about the spill and drilling and protecting the oceans. And more people joined the line. And then it looked like this:

And at 12:15, we all walked into the ocean together still holding hands.

No fliers, no banners, no bull horns, no singing. By 12:15, we were fifty or so strangers, most of whom didn’t know this had been planned, who, as “Hand Across the Sand” founder Dave Rauschkolb says, “draw metaphorical and actual lines in the sand; human lines in the sand against the threat oil drilling poses to America’s coastal economies and marine environment.”

What is Hands Across the Sand?

Hands Across the Sand is a movement made of people of all walks of life and crosses political affiliations. This movement is not about politics; it is about protection of our coastal economies, oceans, marine wildlife, and fishing industry. Let us share our knowledge, energies and passion for protecting all of the above from the devastating effects of oil drilling.

While Hands Across the Sand began in Florida just this past February (and before this most recent horrible oil spill), yesterday’s event was international and co-sponsored by a long list of environmental and other activist group including MoveOn.org, Greenpeace and Clean Water Action.

And I was there wearing this T-shirt from We Add Up you can get by clicking through the sidebar. Ten dollars of your purchase of this limited edition BP Oil Spill T-shirt goes to the Gulf Restoration Network.