June 26, 2010

Worried about oil spill, activists make a line in the sand

Almost 100 Racinians joined "hands across the sand" Saturday afternoon, symbolically protecting North Beach from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

For 15 minutes, led by Melissa Warner, left,  -- and echoing events taking place in 800 U.S. cities, including eight in Wisconsin, and 36 other countries -- people opposed to off-shore drilling made their feelings known in a show of solidarity for clean energy.

Warner said she was pleased that so many came. "We didn't know whether we'd have 20 or 200," she said. As to what the event will accomplish, she said, "We'll have to wait and see, won't we?"

"A lot of us are feeling some grief, so this is a way to channel that." If the effort leads to a legislative solution to get cleaner energy, she said, it will be worthwhile. Referring to the famous NASA picture of earth taken from one of the first space missions, she said, "We're not getting supplied from anywhere else. We need to take better care of our planet."

The oil spill in the Gulf, she said, "sliced open an artery of Mother Earth."

The activists who participated in today's event -- by Marybeth Zuhlke's count as the event broke up, there were 84, but some had already left -- spent an hour discussing the environment at the North Beach Oasis before walking across the beach and forming their long line, everyone holding the hands of the people on either side. The Rev. Tony Larsen of Olympia Brown  Unitarian Universalist Church, in a short invocation, asked, "Give us this day some common sense."

Mayor John Dickert told how Great Lakes mayors, having seen the inadequate response to the Gulf oil spill, worry about what might happen if an oil tanker got into trouble on one of the Great Lakes. He said mayors met with Federal officials to ask how prepared the government is for such an incident. One official's suggestion in such an incident, he said, was to "call the Coast Guard." The mayors were not reassured, and have called for a meeting with U.S. and Canadian officials.

For more information, visit: www.handsacrossthesand.com

Mykel Alekzanderh drums while activists make 'a line in the sand'