BY MARILYN BLIZARD
Kiawah Island’s Sandcastle Beach found 35 local residents and visitors from near and far came for a “Hands Across the Sand” event despite the promised heat index of 107 degrees. The heat didn’t stop this meaningful demonstration of caring to be held by over two dozen people, though others who had planned to come expressed a wish they could have made it.
Ages four to 95 were represented as we joined hands across the sand to say “No” to offshore oil drilling for South Carolina and “Yes” to clean energy of solar, wind and bio-fuels.
People came by bike and carpooled for energy conservation, wearing red, white and blue; they carried American flags and pinwheels that fluttered in the ocean breezes. This was not a protest. A fellow participant said, “This was an eager message for what America needs and deserves – clean energy now.”
Someone also said, “I feel so much better at being able to do something besides see another oiled pelican in the Gulf. This event helped.”
Another spoke of how oil was the answer to the 20th century, but we are running out, with plans needing to get afoot for the transition to a safer supply of energy for our country.
Spontaneous signs were made at the site, like “I love this clean beach! No oil drills, please” and “Yes we can have CLEAN ENERGY.”
Our pristine sandcastle beach and glistening ocean waves were showered with messages of concern for the Gulf Coast’s tragedy to humans and wildlife. We raised our hands in pledging to tell our Senators Lindsay Graham and Jim DeMint and President Obama, as well as candidates for office, that we seek their determined efforts to move our nation forward with renewable, sustainable solar, wind and bio-fuel energies. Although children were most welcome, it was the 27 adults who signed the petition for two things: 1. No oil drilling off the South Carolina Coast and 2. Help clean energy get happening! As volunteer coordinator, I offered to send these names to the aforementioned officials and candidates.
Dr. Janice Ryan-Bohac of Carolina Advanced Renewable Energy was there to explain about her eTuberTM, a 21st century product of great size that is uniquely suitable for our Southeastern climate for fuel-ethanol, which is being grown in this state thanks to two South Carolina grants from the SC Department of Agriculture and the Department of Energy. Her feedstock is ready for production into high output fuel-ethanol as soon as funding for the infrastructure is secured. This innovative project is estimated to provide over a thousand jobs and local spending of $100 million per year as community benefits.
We agreed other forms of clean energy would also offer a multitude of South Carolina sustainable jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil and risk of terrorism.
Folks expressed an interest in repeating this “Hands” event in late October or early November, prior to the coming elections. It would offer those candidates an opportunity to sense the will of the voters.
At that time, as today, it helps that the tide was leaving the beach to allow for a growing space for this line in the sand. There is every indication the next line in the sand will be that much longer.