Voices from Gandy Hands Across the Sand
In addition to St. Pete Beach, more than 160 Hands Across The Sand participants gathered on the beach on the St. Pete side of the Gandy bridge. These are the voices of just a few of those:
Michelle Cookson from Tampa who works in advertising and marketing:
"I am here today as i was on February the 13th for the first Hands Across the Sand event, because I love the ocean. I love the natural environment. I love the state of Florida. But most importantly it's been so frustrating for so many years that America has refused to innervate and come up with clean renewable, sustainable energy sources."
Marilib Maloy a college professor in Tampa:
"Well we hope that we will keep them from drilling on the coast because we love the beach. We don't want to see anything happen to it. We are activists for the coast line and everything else so we come out anytime we can."
David Frye a homebuilder from Riverview:
"I'm hoping that it will bring some awareness and maybe a little bit of strength to the public's opinion to what's going on. And makes a point that it's something that we need to start putting a little bit more focus on and making sure that it comes to the forefront of our thinking now that our environment is extremely important. And that if we allow these things to happen then it's just going to keep getting worse and worse."
Lan Vangelder who lives in St Pete and is retired:
"Well the main thing is that we don't want any additional drilling in the gulf. We need better controls over what is out there and preserve our coast lines."
Shawnna Savani a graphic designer from Tampa:
"I hope to raise awareness and I hope to get the drilling to stop. I think that we need to really promote clean energy. I think that we're hitting a paradigm shift and that the drilling needs to stop. We have a huge dependency on it and it's killing our ecosystem. It's killing the world, and it's just blatantly needs to stop. If I have to stand here for two hours in the hot sun to state it, then so be it."
Ned Schroering a physician from Temple Terrace:
"To ease a little bit of my sense of helplessness and powerlessness, and I'm not even sure this will do it."
Friedemann Buschbeck who lives in Tampa but is originally from Germany:
"Well I hope that we all will realize that we should not blame BP first, but we have to blame our government. BP might be a nasty company, but they are not walking in a vacuum. I mean they have to follow rules, and their rules are set by our government for the Gulf of Mexico. And we just sit here a failure and a good example of the free market that is unregulated. I'm missing in this country a clear political movement for new alternative energy."
and Anita Stewart who lives in Lutz and helped organize the event:
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"Well we need awareness as to what's going on with big oil corporations, which have really taken us over. I think some important things to know about oil is, this is not a political issue or a party issue. We have representatives from both sides of the aisle that took money from big oil."