ASBURY PARK – On June 26, New Jersey residents joined to create the largest global gathering against offshore drilling. Citizens met at Asbury Park Boardwalk and joined hands along the shoreline as part of an international Hands Across the Sand day of action.
The first event was in Auckland, New Zealand and is working its way across the global time zones finishing on the North Shore of Kauai, Hawaii, uniting thousands of people against offshore drilling and in favor of clean energy in the wake of the BP disaster in the Gulf. The call to action occurs at noon in the respective time zone.
“Today we join together in unity and solidarity with the community of the Gulf of Mexico to express outrage against the perils and horror caused by our addiction to oil and to resolve to clean up our act. ‘Hands Across the Sand’ is an unprecedented global call to action. The power is within our hands: we must convince President Obama to rescind his expansion of oil drilling. We also must declare a personal war against oil—conserve energy, drive less, swear off single-use non-renewable plastics, and rally others to do the same,” stated Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action.
“This event has to be more than a one day event, joining hands on a beach to protect the environment. It has to be about each and every one of us going home to our lives and making a proactive change in our energy usage and how we affect the environment. We are all at fault for the great destruction of the Gulf and we must all be a part of the solution,” said Ed Johnson, Mayor of Asbury Park.
“It is terrifying to think the tragedy in the Gulf could one day happen along our coast. The ocean is not only our lifeline, but it is a precious resource that needs to be protected. As a lifelong resident of the Shore, and a local business owner, I feel we must do everything necessary to protect it from offshore drilling and industry,” said Marilyn Schlossbach, owner of Langosta Lounge, Pop’s Garage, Trinity and the Pope, and several other shore restaurants. “It is imperative that residents and business owners do everything they can to raise awareness of the dangers of offshore drilling and advocate against it.”
The Hands Across the Sand events are aimed at steering America’s energy policy away from its dependence on fossil fuels and towards clean energy. The goal is to convince leaders like President Obama to abandon offshore oil drilling and adopt policies that encourage clean energy instead.
“I support the international effort of Hands Across the Sand in opposition to the expansion of offshore drilling,” said Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06). “I have always, and will continue to oppose any expansion of offshore drilling because of the high-stakes gamble it places on our nation’s coastline. It’s a gamble that is not worth the payoff. We cannot drill our way to energy independence, which is reason enough to move towards harnessing renewable sources of energy.”
“The BP oil spill is a tragic reminder of why we must oppose offshore drilling. This horrific disaster cost human lives and is decimating the Gulf. We absolutely cannot allow something like this to happen off our coast in New Jersey,” remarked Senator Sean Kean. “We must be resolved to stop offshore drilling and vigorously support clean energy initiatives.”
“Today, people around the globe are participating in events just like this one in 820 locations, with 730 of them in the US. In all my years of organizing I have never seen an outpouring of support from regular people who chose to act and say offshore oil drilling is not the answer,” said John Weber, Northeast Regional Manager for the Surfrider Foundation.
“The Gulf disaster is proof-positive that what happens in the Gulf can happen here except the destruction would be infinitely worse because the survival of our entire Atlantic coast is tied to the health of our coastal waters. Economics and environment go hand in hand, and the disaster would dwarf any minimal economic benefits gained by these short-sided wells. Today, thousands of Americans are offering a helping hand not only to our oceans, but to Americans long-term economic security,” said Edison Wetlands Association Executive Director Robert Spiegel.
“Instead of just being mad as hell, we have to channel our energy to protect our oceans and our beaches,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “We need to stop the drilling off our coasts and instead build a green energy economy.”
Hands Across The Sand was founded by Floridian Dave Rauschkolb in October of 2009. Hands Across The Sand is endorsed by national environmental organizations including Sierra Club, Audubon, Surfrider, Oceana, Greenpeace, Defenders of Wildlife, Alaska Wilderness League, Ocean Conservancy, Friends of the Earth, Environment America, 350, MoveOn.org, Center for Biological Diversity and CleanEnergy.org
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