• Facebook.com/HandsAcrossTheSand

On Saturday, conservation groups in 22 states and 8 nations overseas will stand along their coastlines in solidarity against offshore drilling in the annual “Hands Across the Sand” event.

The event, happening locally on Folly Beach and in nearby Garden City and Hilton Head Island are designed to raise awareness for alternative energy, “to say “no” to offshore drilling and “yes” to clean energy” as Southern Alliance for Clean Energy Coastal Climate and Energy Coordinator Chris Carnevale said in a P&C letter to the editor on Friday.

Carnevale believes this year’s event holds a special meaning, “offshore drilling exploration and eventual drilling are more a reality for South Carolinians now than perhaps ever before,” but that “opportunities for clean, renewable energy are becoming more attractive each year.”

In 2010, in the aftermath of the BP Gulf oil spill, up to 300 people gathered on Sullivans Island for the event. Carnevale took note of the spill in his letter Friday, “all it takes is one accident for the tourism and seafood markets to crash.”

Carnevale says he hopes events like these will spur state leaders to take action, and that legislation like the Energy Systems Freedom of Ownership Act and the solar tax credit will help relieve the upfront costs of installing solar power equipment.

The event begins at 11:40am on Folly Beach near the Fishing Pier, with the actual joining of hands happening at noon. For more information, check out the Facebook event page.