IN THE BEGINNING-The Florida connection to Hands
Florida was on line to drill off shore and our founder and thousands of others STOPPED IT in Florida!
In September of 2009 I heard the Fl. House of Representatives had passed a bill to allow for oil drilling in Florida’s waters. I was horrified this could ever happen considering our pristine beaches and tourism dependent economy. This prospect struck at my core belief that this should never be allowed to happen. Period. Being a surfer, fisherman and the owner of a Gulf Front Restaurant and a Florida resident since 1971 I felt drilling would be the beginning of the slow, deliberate deterioration of our beloved Gulf of Mexico and pristine white beaches. Clearly the deterioration had already begun decades ago in the western Gulf in Texas and Louisiana. I was inspired by a close friend, David Pleat who gave a speech at my restaurant in his 2009 bid for a seat in the Florida House of Representatives. Pleat spoke of the network of pipelines, oil rigs and the general industrialization of our coast that would happened if this legislation was to pass. In March of 2010 the Florida Legislature would take it up in the Senate. He said in his speech “we must write our Legislators and do everything we can to stop this”. I said to myself there must be something more we could do…a line in the sand. In that instant I saw that line in the sand could be people, joining hands. I jumped up at the end of his speech and announced a challenge to the people of Florida to join hands on a future date against offshore drilling in Florida’s waters. A week later, early in October I designed a website and worked with so many to create the first Hands Across the Sand on a clear, chilly day on February 13, 2010. 10,000 people joined hands on 80 beaches from Jacksonville to Miami and Miami to Pensacola the Florida Senate did not take up the drilling Bill. 2 months later on April 20th the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded off Louisiana. A month later I was in Washington DC convincing many of the Environmental and Clean Energy groups who had hoped in Florida my concept could have an impact if we went national with an event in June. We only had barely 5 weeks to plan it. I retooled the site to go National and started to get signups. Several countries wanted to join in so I added the world map to the site. On June 25th we had events held in all 50 states and in 48 countries. Italy had thousands join hands, China, Japan, Norway. Like a wave of clean, pure, positive energy people from all walks of life, politically and socioeconomically diverse joined hands in each time zone from New Zealand to Hanalei Bay Hawaii. “people who are in love hold hands, people who want to change the world join hands. Ending our dependence on dirty fuels and embracing clean energy is the most important thing we can do as humans”. Dave Rauschkolb And my sister Dede has managed it ever since! Thanks Dede for ALL the hours you put in as a volunteer!