This blog was written by Kelsey Grentzer, former Florida Communications Coordinator at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. Dory Larsen, SACE’s Electric Vehicle Program Associate, also contributed to this blog.
As a part of a growing global movement to protest offshore drilling, deep water drilling and offshore seismic testing, SACE participated in Hands Across the Sand events across the Southeast last Saturday, May 19.
In Florida, thousands joined hands to say no to offshore drilling and yes to clean energy, including several elected officials who participated at Clearwater Beach: U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, County Commissioners Pat Gerard and Janet Long, and U.S. Representative Charlie Crist.
Several other environmental advocacy groups, including Sea Shepherd, Suncoast Sierra Club’s Florida Chapter, Environment Florida, Suncoast Rise Above Plastics Coalition, the Suncoast Surfrider Foundation, the Center for Biological Diversity, Organize Tampa and Tampa Bay Waterkeeper also teamed up to raise awareness about clean energy. Despite weather-related cancellations in other cities, Clearwater Beach offered sunshine and blue skies.
A press conference was held before joining hands, and Senator Bill Nelson spoke out about offshore drilling to a cheering crowd on the beach’s white sand. “We all are joining hands in a symbolic recognition that we’re going to keep our Gulf clean, and we’re going to keep oil and gas drilling away from this eastern Gulf of Mexico,” Senator Nelson said, “And I’ll tell you, as long as I’m around, there’s not going to be any oil rigs out there.”
The event was about more than demonstrating disapproval of offshore drilling, though. It was an opportunity to work toward tangible solutions. More than 20 beachgoers signed the NextCar Pledge at the event, promising to learn more about driving electric and to consider an electric vehicle for their next car purchase. Today gasoline vehicles are the source of more carbon emissions than all of our power plants combined, and driving electric is one concrete way we can all help to reduce the demand for offshore drilling.
The annual Hands Across the Sand and Hands Across the Land events, which are held in 18 states and seven countries, are a part of an important movement to transition toward clean energy and a more sustainable future. Let’s keep the movement going! Here’s what you can do today to help reduce our dependence on oil and gas:
- Sign the NextCar Pledge to learn more about electric vehicles and show elected officials and auto manufacturers your support of the transition to driving electric
- Register to vote online at www.floridaclimatevoter.org
- Go solar! Add solar to your home and/or business
- Take measures to make your home and workplace more energy efficient