PHOTOS: Residents turn out to oppose oil drilling at second 'Hands Across the Sand' event

Article Highlights

  • Did you attend Hands Across the Sand? Share your photos at naplesnews.com/participate
Beach goers came out for the Hands Across The Sand event at the Naples Pier in Naples, Fla., on June 25, 2011. People around the world joined hands on beaches and in cities to oppose expanded offshore drilling and call for clean energy solutions for a sustainable planet. MICHELE ANNELOUISE COHEN | NAPLES DAILY NEWS

Photo by MICHELE ANNELOUISE COHEN // Buy this photo

Beach goers came out for the Hands Across The Sand event at the Naples Pier in Naples, Fla., on June 25, 2011. People around the world joined hands on beaches and in cities to oppose expanded offshore drilling and call for clean energy solutions for a sustainable planet. MICHELE ANNELOUISE COHEN | NAPLES DAILY NEWS

Hands Across the Sand

— With her 6-month-old baby in tow, Michelle Cotto felt the warm water off the Naples Pier reach her ankles and recede into the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday.

This was her first protest, despite Hands Across the Sand’s three-year run, and it was to keep the beach she’s loved for 22 years free of offshore oil drilling.

“I’m protesting because I’ve been coming here for years. Coming to the beach is tradition and I’ve enjoyed it so I want my kids to enjoy it too,” Cotto said while holding her 4-year-old’s and 9-year-old’s hands as more than 30 other beach-goers continued the chain in solidarity.

A Florida Panhandle restaurant owner founded Hands Across the Sand to protest state and federal proposals to lift the oil drilling ban off Florida. Hands Across the Sand went worldwide with an event last June after the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

This year, organizers like 66-year-old Mickey Gargan are trying to collect 700,000 petition signatures to get a constitutional amendment on the 2012 ballot to ban oil drilling in Florida’s state waters.

“I don’t want to see oil wells here,” said Gargan, who was dressed in a T-shirt that read, ‘Stop Offshore Drilling.’ “I don’t want a disaster like in Louisiana, want to keep beaches safe for tourists and the wildlife.”

Even though the event wasn’t made public until Friday morning on the Hands Across the Sand’s website, Gargan rallied protesters by calling out to anyone laying or playing on the beach. For 15 minutes, men, women, and children alike linked hands on the shore to show support of clean energy and the prevention of oil drilling in coastal waters.

As they sang “This Land is Your Land,” one of America’s most famous folk songs, more unsuspecting sunbathers flocked to the protest and began linking hands as well.

“Write to Congressman,” Gargan bellowed over the sounds of crashing waves and children laughing once the patriotic song was complete. “Say, ‘I do not want oil drilling in my Gulf.’”

Victor Zuniga, 12, clicked photos on his iPhone of T-shirts and people holding hands in support of the event.

“I’m going to post these on Facebook to help promote and get people to come out,” Zuniga said.

The budding protester said his mother got him involved but now feels like it’s his responsibility to do everything he can to save the beaches.

“I want a good future for myself too, so when I come out to the beach there isn’t another off-shore drilling disaster and it comes onto the beach here,” he said as his mother looked on, proudly.

Similar events are planned at beaches all over the nation, and even around the world, but has their roots in Florida.

Events were also held Saturday at Lowdermilk Park in Collier County, at the Pier on Fort Myers Beach and Lighthouse Beach on Sanibel Island.

Some 10,000 Floridians representing 60 towns and cities and more than 90 beaches participated in a statewide event in February 2010.

For more information, go online to handsacrossthesand.com.

© 2011 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Stories

Related Links

Comments » 7

August8 writes:

Drill in the lake in my back yard if need be, security of this Country must be the priority,or excuse me,DUMP OBAMA FAST !!!!!! the most important

These people are crazy !!!!

Ruger writes:

Interesting timing right after the admission from the Obama administration that increasing domestic oil supplies will help lower costs (by releasing crude from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve). Perhaps these people would rather China and Cuba be in charge of drilling off of our coast exclusively?

Fossil writes:

I'll bet those Koch brothers appreciated Obama putting all that oil on the market. They just lost a ton of cash. If I was President I would just jail the speculators and sic the IRS on them. Speculating in oil during a recession when so many of us are out of work is unpatriotic. People need their cars to find jobs.

ajm3s writes:

Are we to assume that while holding hands on the beach, in solidarity, that they all returned home via a bicycle? To broaden the message.

I remember many years ago, Ted Kennedy with the family compound in Hyannis did not want windmills in Nantucket Sound, because......

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/0...

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-n...

It's all about the view!

LOL

August8 writes:

Islandeye ???????????????
What a disappointment, anyone that would spit on a dem in the next election should be rounded up and held indefinately, the fight is on big guy !!!

August8 writes:

Obama what, is there another one that I don't know or what?
You are out of your ever lovin mind my man, he's a lier and she's as bad, if you like the hole the Country is in, then you squander in it. I have no problem with my day job or who this cat is, he's as gone as the wind my man, the bs is over !!!!!

Ruger writes:

in response to islandeye1_235971:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

LOL! this ^^^ is what liberals really believe!!

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features