Hands in the Sand: A Volunteer's (Silly yet Satisfied) Perspective


Participants get painted for their debut in the sand. Image credit: Jess Root

As Matt put it, today's Hands in the Sand event was a refreshing take action way of channeling all the BP hate and directing it toward something positive. A global cry for clean energy, clean beaches and a clean planet using the potent visual cue of thousands of linked hands stringing the world's shores.

For me, compromising my usual Saturday sleep-in-late and brunch agenda was the least I could do to give back to our big wondrous blue and do some good. So, I volunteered at the the colorful Coney Island location, and came home with a few good personal reminders on reaching the masses when it comes to spreading the message of green love...My first volunteer duty was hold up a sign at the subway exit to help event attendees navigate their way to the gathering--and to help drum up interest from the bikini and swim trunk-clad folk ready to work their tan.

Offshore Drilling? What's That?
Lesson number one: Not everyone cares nor knows what offshore drilling is (I was stupefied over the amount of glazed over looks and furrowed brows, I received. Yes, call me naive.)... but the most skillful tactic in grabbing their attention was a genuine, warm smile; not a conversation starter about clean energy.

After playing traffic director, I was then assigned to garner signatures for the massive petition against offshore drilling.

Lesson number two: Cracking jokes (even the cheesiest) butters up even the most stingiest sort of old Russian man types who just "don't care because New York State doesn't have any oil anyway." Yes, that was just one of many kooky remarks I received. He ended up signing. Boo yah!


Image credit: Jess Root

Lastly, I was stationed to help fan the line out and get participants to link hands in an orderly fashion to get ready for photo time.

Lesson number three: Event volunteers in a leadership role, no matter how well intentioned should never build the reputation of a "crazy drill sargeant" as I heard folks calling one very nice yet tad extreme organizer. IMO, this will never bode well for the environmentalist community thank you very much.

Despite the minor bumps in the sandy road, the event was a success. Tons of people came out in support and many beach goers spontaneously jumped in and linked hands. It was awesome feeling part of something so global and well...good.

More on Oil Spill Take Action Opportunities:
Join Hands Across the Sand This Saturday! Support a Future That Doesn't Need Offshore Drilling
Threadless Sells T-shirt to Fund BP Gulf Oil Spill Recovery
Hair Raising Campaign to Clean Up Gulf Oil Gusher

Tags: Activism | Beaches | New York City

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