Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hands Across The Sand

Welcome! Thank you for joining hands with us to create the largest anti-offshore drilling gathering in history. We are joining hands to say NO to offshore oil drilling and YES to clean Energy and Renewables. The message is simple. The images are powerful. We are drawing a line in the sand against offshore oil drilling along America's beaches and in solitary events across America and the World. - Dave Rauschkolb, founder of 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, fishing industries, and coastal military missions. Let us share our knowledge, energies and passion for protecting all of the above from the devastating effects of oil drilling.
Mission: To organize a national movement to oppose offshore oil drilling and champion clean Energy and Renewables. These gathering(s) will bring thousands of American citizens to our beaches and cities and will draw a metaphorical and actual lines in sand; human lines in sand against the threat oil drilling poses to America's coastal economies and marine environment. To convince our State Legislators, Governors, Congress and President Obama to stop the expansion of offshore oil drilling and to adopt policies encouraging clean and renewable energy sources. America needs legislation that creates tax incentives and subsidies to encourage the growth of clean energy and renewable industries for America's future. - From the Hands Across the Sand Facebook page.

Last Saturday morning, June 26th, I took a bus ride down to the pier at Santa Monica... again. Everything seems to revolve around the pier at Santa Monica. It had been a bit overcast earlier in the morning, but the sun began to peek through the clouds by eleven, when I arrived. The improving weather brought out lots of people, I don't know where they all came from, but there were a lot of them on the pier, on the Ferris Wheel, even the Merry Go Round was filled up with Merry Go Rounders.
There were plenty of people on the beach too. I was surprised because the weather wasn't all that good. I mean it really was still a bit cloudy, but there were hundreds of beach goers laying out on the cool sand, dressed in swim wear, gathering up whatever rays they could get. Bikinis were in evidence.
I was not there to get a tan however. I could use one, but I'm no longer into melanoma. That's for young people.
No I was there to participate in the Hands Across the Sand "event." The facilitators of the "event," wished to distinguish an event from a demonstration, as they were not demonstrating against offshore oil drilling and the use of fossil fuels, they were... eventing against offshore oil drilling and the use of fossil fuels, a distinction possibly without a difference I must admit.
I wasn't the only one there for the "event." My goodness, no. There were a lot of other people there as well, perhaps three hundred or so. The picture above, with people standing around holding signs, is an actual picture of the "event," taken by someone from the Los Angeles Times. I was in the back there somewhere standing around, although I had no sign to hold. I was listening to various speakers, local residents and elected officials speaking about how bad offshore oil drilling is.
They were right, it is bad.
Big oil companies like Exxon, Chevron, and BP exist only to make profits for their stockholders. That's what they do. That's is their responsibility under the law. That means they have to keep drilling for oil no matter what, because if they stopped they wouldn't be able to pay their stockholders any more and they'd all get fired and go out of business, and according to the Republican philosophy (Drill Baby, Drill), that would be very irresponsible. The responsible thing then is to keep drilling for oil no matter what, then people will keep using oil to drive their cars and heat their homes, etc. According to them and the Republican philosophy, actually seeking and developing renewable energy resources like solar, wind, geothermal, and battery powered vehicles, instead of just saying we need to do it... eventually, would be very irresponsible indeed. So mush so that it's almost like political suicide to even bring up the matter seriously.
Oil companies face a big problem however in the quest for eternal profits from drilling oil... reality. You see oil is a finite entity, that means there is just so much of it, and when it is gone there is no more (oil can be made synthetically, but it is currently very expensive to do so, and then there is still that problem of discharging it into the atmosphere further exacerbating global warming concerns). My dear late friend Dr. Carl Sagan said that oil companies keep on finding more oil, but still, eventually it will run out. We may have already reached the point of "peak oil," (which means a point in time when the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal decline), or we might not have, but it will come, sooner or later.
Oil companies are already finding it difficult to extract oil in easily accessible places, like on land. That's why they want to keep drilling offshore, in deeper and deeper waters, because that's where the oil is. They aren't drilling a mile down, and a couple of miles further under the seafloor because the Sierra Club has forced them to, as Rush Limbaugh would have you believe (he's such a liar, that Rush), no, it's because that is where the oil is, pure and simple. And as oil becomes more scarce oil companies are going to have to keep going further and further out, into less and less accessible places.
As the current BP leak in the Gulf of Mexico would suggest, oil companies are much better at extracting oil than cleaning up their spills when accidents occur. As a matter of fact they aren't very good at that at all. My other friend, Dr. Rachel Maddow believes, as do I, that these oil companies should not even be allowed to drill for oil in deep underwater places unless they can demonstrate a proven ability to prevent these spills from happening in the first place, and abilities to stop spills once they do occur, and clean up the resulting mess.
Oil companies in the past have thought that idea is irresponsible because that would cost too much money which would eat at their profits, which would mean less money for stockholders.
So that's why we were all out on the beach at Santa Monica, to show that we were aware of what the oil companies were doing, stating that with the inevitable decline in the amount of oil reserves, the pollution its use causes, and the probability that spills would become more and more frequent, that actual implementation of renewable energy should be, well... implemented. It's not going to be easy, and it's going to take a while, but we're going to have to do it anyway, and we should get started right away. We're saying that that is the responsible thing to do, and we're right!
So there I was on the beach. After all of the speeches were made we were told to form a big circle, all three hundred of us. I was near the northwestern apex of this circle, headed directly for the Pacific Ocean. Our circle was so large in fact, that we ran into those who were sun bathing on the beach near the watery waves. They didn't seem to mind though as we plowed through them laying out on the soft sand.
The entire circle once everyone was in position, was pretty big, reaching almost to the waves, and clear to the parking lot on the other side. Then those near the parking lot were told to separate and spread out to form a straight line, folding the circle back towards us by the ocean. So soon all of us involved with the "event," were standing among the beach sunbathers near the ocean. At this point we all held hands (or were supposed to. To my left I was holding the hand of a female dwarf sociology student, and to my right some older guy who wouldn't hold hands with me or his other neighbor because he kept holding a sign). We "held hands" for about fifteen minutes while pictures were taken, and such. It was very nice. After the fifteen minutes we were thanked for showing up, and told we could go, which I did.
This happened not only in Santa Monica, but in hundreds of locations across the country, and in 19 other countries as well, so I'm told. I bet there are a lot of people who are just as concerned about offshore oil drilling and the use of fossil fuels who don't live anywhere near a beach. So our event was for them as well.
And if enough people get involved, well who knows what will happen.

No comments:

Post a Comment