June 27, 2010 – Hilo, Hawaii
Video by David Corrigan
Synchronized with hundreds of other locations around the world, Big Island residents joined “Hands Across the Sand” along Hilo Bay to add to the chorus of voices against offshore drilling.
Inspired by the public outcry over the monumental BP Oil Spill in the Gulf, organizers say people in 42 nations worldwide participated in Saturday’s demonstration. There were 13 sites in the state of Hawaii where supporters of this event gathered.
Frankie Stapleton, one of the principal organizers of the display, said the Hilo event took place earlier in the day than the other Hawaii sites because Moku O Hawaii’s Keaukaha Canoe Regatta was scheduled for the same time along Hilo’s Bayfront. Stapleton said Moku O Hawaii OCRA graciously agreed to join our effort, and when it was time to join hands, the paddlers swarmed the shoreline and boosted the numbers of participants well into the hundreds, perhaps the thousands.
In a media release issued before the rally, Stapleton wrote that Hawaii “imports more than 40 million barrels of oil each year to power our homes, our cars and bring us our food. We are so dependent on burning fossil fuels that we demand it daily at a cheap price. However, the recent BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has brought international attention to the true cost of our addiction to oil.”
Stapleton said it is estimated that more than 100,000 barrels of oil are now flowing into the Gulf of Mexico every day. Hawaii currently imports about 110,000 barrels of oil every day. If one of our supertankers were to spill off our shores, the environmental and economic damage would be catastrophic.
“This is situation is real for Hawaii,” Stapleton said, “and we need to stand together now and end our dependence on imported fossil fuels. We have all of the alternatives we need here in our islands, now we must make a commitment to getting back to our roots and take on a challenge that future generations will be proud of.”