Members of the Kennebunks’ Environmental Action Alliance and Sierra Club Maine join hands and hold a sign at Mother's Beach on Saturday. Thousands of other locations across the globe took part in similar demonstrations as part of the 'Hands Across the Sand' event. RYDER SCHUMACHER/Journal Tribune

Members of the Kennebunks’ Environmental Action Alliance and Sierra Club Maine join hands and hold a sign at Mother’s Beach on Saturday. Thousands of other locations across the globe took part in similar demonstrations as part of the ‘Hands Across the Sand’ event. RYDER SCHUMACHER/Journal Tribune

KENNEBUNK — Dozens linked hand-in-hand at Mother’s Beach in Kennebunk on Saturday for the Kennebunk “Hands Across the Sand” event in a show of solidarity towards clean energy and an opposition to fossil fuels,   

Slightly before noon, members from the Kennebunks’ Environmental Action Alliance and Sierra Club Maine carried out a brief cleanup of the beach before holding hands for 15 minutes and stretching across the shore of Mother’s Beach, behind an array of homemade signs pressing for environmental awareness.

“Hands Across the Sand” started as a movement in 2010 after the BP oil spill in April of that year. During that time, citizens came together and joined hands in an expression of dissent toward oil spills and energy hazardous to the environment.

Since then, the movement has grown globally.

In 2016, thousands across globe took part in the event, which now includes a thorough beach cleanup and the silent, symbolic linking of hands. Saturday’s display at Mother’s Beach was again one of thousands happening across the U.S. and abroad at that time.

Sierra Club of Maine member Joan Saxe, from Freeport, was one of the many people who had gathered a few articles of plastic from the beach. The simple act of holding hands across the shore speaks volumes, she said.

“Typically everyone holds hands and just contemplates the beauty of what we have here,” Saxe said. “We all gather like this to show we don’t want offshore drilling, we want funding of NOAA and for the government to recognize that. This is such a great way of getting people out and talking about the importance of protecting the environment.”

Children could be spotted during the event romping around on the beach. One participant of the gathering, 16-year-old Willy Jones — who has been involved in a children’s awareness litter project aimed at protecting whales for several years — said it’s crucial to have children see this and be informed on the need for a clean ocean.

“Kids are the most impressionable ones,” Jones said. “They are going to grow up and go into society someday, and it’s awesome if they notice events like this and gain awareness of not littering and keeping the environment clean. That’s why stuff like this is great. I love getting together with a good amount of people who have the same mindset and want to achieve the same noble goal.”

Jones added that it’s difficult to make a change at the highest levels of government, but events like the one on Saturday still provide a sense of accomplishment.

“In this day and age it’s super hard to make progress in our government and reach the top ranks,” Jones said. “But starting off small like this and just expanding and building on it, in a town like Kennebunk, where we can get together and at least try to make a difference in our town, I think that’s still really important.”

— Staff Writer Ryder Schumacher can be reached at 282-1535, or via email at [email protected] 


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