Nearly 500 people gathered Sunday at De La Guerra Plaza before marching down State Street then stringing themselves along West Beach. They decried May 19’s oil spill and promoted the use of more sustainable energy sources.
Joined by Stand in the Sand organizer Eric Cardenas, Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider, Gaviota Coast Conservancy director Phil McKenna, and Community Environmental Council leader Dave Davis, among many other elected officials, nonprofit partners, and area residents, the crowd formed a human boom at the waterfront to symbolically stem the rising tide of U.S. oil use and the damage it does to natural environments.
“We have seen this before. The 1969 spill in the Santa Barbara Channel, the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, and in 2010, in the Gulf of Mexico,” Schneider told the crowd. “The reality is that under the status quo we will see more spills like this in the future. We are here because we want to see an alternative.”
After the rally, McKenna issued a statement, which reads in part: “The speakers today outline the technological solutions available to us to temper, reduce, and someday eliminate our reliance on non-renewable energy sources. But you can move forward immediately, without cost, and with assurance of success. Our personal antidote, expressed in our daily lives, must be to create a respectful attitude toward our earth that is characterized by restraint; take less, give more – we need to be generous with our mother earth.
Stand in the Sand formed in Santa Barbara after the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill. Visit standinthesand.org for more information.