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Hands Across the Sand:

Locals Join Hands In Hopes Of Permanent Moratoriums.

by Marie David

People holding hands for Hands Across the Sand in Point Pleasant Park
People holding hands for Hands Across the Sand in Point Pleasant Park

  A small group of people joined hands on Saturday afternoon to express their support and concerns for those affected by the BP oil spill and to advocate for changes closer to home.

The event called “Hands Across the Sand” happened in over 15 countries at noon all over the world. 

           “This is a global thing that's happening: looking at the gulf spill, looking at what those impacts are, reflecting on our communal responsibility for what happened and also thinking about alternatives,” said Gretchen Fitzgerald one of the organizers of the gathering in Halifax.  

 “Hands Across the Sand” started in February of this year in Florida as a protest against “the efforts by the Florida Legislature and the US Congress to life [this should read lift?] the ban on oil drilling in the near and off shores of Florida,” as posted in their website.

      In Halifax, nine people joined hands in a circle at Black Rock Beach in Point Pleasant Park to share their stories and support. 

Keisha Muise, a student at Saint Mary's University was one of the participants.

      “It's really really scary to know that just this small group is here today from Halifax and we're such a big city, surrounded by water," said Muise.  "So, it's really interesting to see that there's not more support. It's scary to see that people don't understand.” 

      Those who participated also did so to protest the offshore drilling near George's Bank and the Arctic.

      “We have potential offshore oil development here at George's and there has been a moratorium declared until 2015 and I'd like to see that made a permanent moratorium,” said Fitzgerald. 

      Janelle Frail, executive director of the Nova Scotia Environmental Network (NSEN) agrees.

      Frail says that her organisation and others are calling for a permanent moratorium on offshore oil drilling in the George's Bank and more commitment and action on renewable energy to reduce oil dependency.

Several different inquires are being made into the possible environmental and economical impacts of drilling off George's Bank. George's is located between Nova Scotia and Cape Cod and is one of the most prosperous fishing ground in the region. 

      Although turnout was small, organizers and participants were happy with the event.

      “I feel that the people who were here feel strongly about being present and are sending out good thoughts of support, strength and love,” said Frail, who beleves that the word will spread from Saturday's events.

Shelia Cole, an advisor to the NSEN and a board member of the Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia agrees and urges people to spread the word and get involved. 

 “It's very important that all individuals speak to their local representative, run for government themselves if they are so inclined, and really speak up about environmental issues,” she said.  


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