At high noon Saturday, dozens of people along the world's beaches did a simple act: They joined hands.
Their goal? Bring awareness to the potential dangers of offshore drilling.
Hands Across the Sand is an international event that takes place once a year at select, coastal locations including Indian Rocks Beach. The turnout was big in Florida, the birthplace of this young movement.
From surfers to people who simply enjoy beach views, many folks turned out at various beaches to join in and join hands.
Among the supporters of Hands Across the Sand is the Surfrider Foundation, which is an international organization whose members are dedicated to keeping coastal cities clean and accessible.
Liz Calver of the Suncoast chapter, says that the group is not just for surfers. "It's for people that love the ocean and want to preserve it for future generations," she said.
Supporters came from all over the bay area, including residents of Ruskin, St. Petersburg and Gulfport.
Cheryl Mogul, who is a Gulfport resident, is against pollution of any kind. She was even handing out free gadgets that are made to be used for cigarette disposal. Mogul's goal for the day was to offer an alternative to those using the beach as "an ash tray" as well as to protest drilling for oil.
"The drilling has to stop," said Mogul. "It's horrifying and I'm just trying to do the right thing."
After the BP oil spill, which happened a little over two years ago, businesses along the beach say that they were devastated. Local standup paddleboarding instructor, Shane Webb, says that the beaches were "dead" after the oil spill.
"I make my money in the water and on the beach, so I am affected personally if it gets messed up," said Webb.
Webb, who is a member of the Surfrider Foundation, took a break from business to show his support and join the Hands Across the Sand event.
"We have a resource here that everybody doesn't have," Webb explained. "We have to keep it clean, or else it's not going to be around to use in years to come."
According to Hands Across the Sand, the movement against offshore drilling started in Florida. In 2010, about 10,000 Floridians gathered at every corner of the state to resist the efforts made by the Florida Legislature and US Congress to lift the ban on oil drilling.
The Hands Across the Sand mission is clear:
- To bring together like-minded individuals and organizations with the conviction to organize a Global movement to promote a clean energy future for our earth and end our dependence on dirty fuel sources. These gatherings will bring thousands of American and Global citizens to our beaches and cities and will draw metaphorical and actual lines in the sand; human lines in the sand against the threats Fossil Fuels and offshore oil drilling pose to our present and future planet.
- To convince our State Legislators, Governors, Congress and President Obama and World leaders to adopt policies encouraging the growth of clean and renewable energy sources in place of oil and coal.