Join hands for a healthy ocean

Winston Vaughan

This Saturday, June 25, thousands of people from all across the world will take part in an event known as “Hands Across the Sand” by taking a trip to their local beach and joining hands with friends, neighbors and total strangers to send a message to our leaders—no to expanded offshore oil drilling and yes to clean energy. Last year more than 100,000 people took part in this event in all 50 states and in 43 countries around the world.

This year’s Hands Across the Sand could not come at a more important time and that is why CLF has joined as a sponsor of the event. With memories of the BP Horizon disaster fading from the public memory, and gas prices hovering around $4 a gallon, the oil industry and their allies in Congress are mounting a major effort to dramatically expand oil drilling in US waters. They are even bringing back a proposal that seemed unthinkable a year ago—oil drilling on New England’s Georges Bank, one of the richest fisheries on earth. The truly scary part is that Big Oil is making progress. In Washington DC the House of Representatives recently passed 3 bills that would have required a massive expansion of offshore drilling, and a recent poll shows that public support for drilling is on the rise as gas prices tick up.

The drilling bill was rejected in the US Senate (no thanks to Senator Scott Brown) but the threat of oil rigs in New England’s waters remain a very real possibility, threatening New England’s critical fishing, tourism and outdoor recreation industries which employ tens of thousands and sustainably generate far more revenue than oil drilling ever could.

There is an old saying that if you give a man a fish he will eat for a day but if you teach a man to fish he will eat for the rest of his life. Drilling in New England might create a few jobs years down the road for as long as the oil lasts, but we would be risking far more jobs in other ocean industries such as fishing. However by improving the health of our oceans and fisheries, and promoting the responsible development of renewable energy, we will create jobs that last for generations to come.

That is why this Saturday CLF is joining with the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association to sponsor a Hands Across the Sand event at noon this Saturday, June 25th on Pavilion Beach in Gloucester. Environmentalists, fishermen and beachgoers will all be there to join hands and say no to offshore drilling and yes to a clean, renewable energy future and yes to healthy oceans and the jobs they support. I hope you can join us in Gloucester but if you can’t make it, click here to find an event near you.

P.S. If you need another reason to come, the Gloucester Hands Across the Sand event will coincide with the annual Saint Peter’s Fiesta so you can speak out for our ocean and have a great time in Gloucester too!

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