Beach lovers and concerned residents will join hands with volunteers across the world this weekend in an international event promoting a clean energy future.

Hands Across the Sand will take place at Fort Macon swimming beach Saturday to show a united front on environmental issues in the area.  

At noon participants will join hands for 15 minutes on beaches to champion clean energy solutions to fuel problems.

Although offshore drilling for oil and natural gases is currently not allowed in the mid-atlantic region of the East Coast, seismic testing companies are pursuing leases off North Carolina coasts, according to the Bureau of Energy Management. 

Seismic testing is a form of 3D mapping of underwater geology that is dangerous to marine mammals and marine life due to seismic airguns that are used in close proximity to underwater life.  

Five years ago the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management attempted to secure more drilling and seismic testing leases off the eastern United States, but public outcry following the 2010 BP oil spill halted it.

“Public opinion in the area was so against offshore drilling at the time, that BOEM recognized this and banned mid-atlantic offshore drilling until 2022,” Penny Hooper, chair of the Conservation Committee with the Croatan Group, explained about environmental activism in the area.

Concerned citizens, five town councils, the Carteret County Chamber of Commerce and the Tourism Development Association in the surrounding counties wrote resolutions against BOEM to achieve the temporary drilling moratorium that the mid-atlantic has currently.

“I think the moratorium raises the level of awareness of how effective Hands Across the Beach and grassroots movements have been in our area,” Hooper said. “These protesters weren’t radical leftist of the green movement, they were bipartisan citizens that were concerned about our oceans and coast.”

Organized locally by the volunteers from the Croatan Group of the Sierra Club and the NC Interfaith Power and Light, Hands Across the Sand sponsors are expecting around 100 people to show their support.

“At this year’s event, we will be celebrating the action by BOEM to remove mid-atlantic offshore drilling consideration until 2022 and protesting that the region be withheld from seismic testing,” Hooper said.

Hands Across the Sand sign up is from 11 to 11:30 a.m. at the Fort Macon swimming beach, followed by a small pep rally at 11:45 a.m. protesting BOEM signing new offshore drilling leases in the Gulf and Arctic oceans.

Participants will then join hands at noon and make a long line in the sand to show that North Carolina stands united in favor of clean energy.

“Sometimes you feel like you’re beating your head against the wall, but we know grassroots activism definitely works and we’ve had success at it,” Hooper said.

Families and residents are invited to bring a picnic lunch afterwards to enjoy on the beach with other participants. There will also be a 3.5 mile hike at 1 p.m. along the new Fort Macon Trail.

For more information about the event or how to join the Croatan Club, call 252-729-2521 or sign up at Hands Across the Sand on Saturday.