On February 13, 2010, thousands of people synchronously gathered on
numerous Florida beaches in order to join hands. The reason for this
unification of 10,000 Floridians from over 60 towns and cities was a
message: “No to offshore drilling. Yes to clean energy.” This Saturday,
June 26, there will be another hand joining session, only this one will
The man behind the event is Dave Rauschkolb. A year ago Rauschkolb
was a restaurant owner, surfer, and for the most part a pacifist from
Seaside, Florida. But after the Florida House of Representatives began
working to pass a bill permitting the ban on off shore drilling to be
lifted, just three miles off the coast of Seaside, Rauschkolb became a
galvanized environmental activist. The February 13th demonstration,
which he dubbed “Hands Across The Sand,” was his creation. And now Hands
Across the Sand is coming to a beach near you.
With the help of environmental groups such as Audubon, the Sierra
Club, and Greenpeace, which has dispatched 500 volunteers to numerous
states, people will be joining hands on America’s shores.
What will a demonstration such as this actually accomplish? Shortly
after activists joined hands last February, Republican Dean Cannon, who
wrote the bill that outraged Rauschkolb, abandoned the effort saying,
“It’s not the right time to vote on this issue.” Perhaps if enough
people literally hold hands, the show of support for clean energy and
for a moratorium on offshore drilling will provoke some amount of
governmental action. It would certainly be timely.
This week, Martin Feldman, a federal judge in New Orleans, granted a
preliminary injunction, effectively halting President Obama’s
moratorium on offshore drilling. Feldman wrote in his decision that,
“The court is unable to divine or fathom a relationship between the
findings and the immense scope of the moratorium.” Furthermore, many
political analysts are predicting that President Barrack Obama will not
be able to pass a clean energy bill through the Senate that has both a
comprehensive limit on carbon emissions and significant fuel economy
The instructions for participants of Hands Across America are as
follows: Step 1, “Go to your beach on June 26 at 11 am in your time
zone;” Step 2, “Form lines in the sand and at 12:00 join hands.” Here in
New York City, the demonstrations will be held at Coney Island and
Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, and High Line Park in Manhattan.
"People in love hold hands," says Rauschkolb. "People who want to
change the world join hands.” If you want to get involved, check for
participating beaches near you at the organization’s website www.handsacrossthesand.com.