On living in paradise

Just over a year ago, I moved to Venice Beach, California. One of the most famous beach communities in the world, I couldn't believe my luck when I landed from the extreme winter cold of New York, to the sunny, palm-lined shores of Venice.

I ran along the water almost every day over the summer and fall of last year, constantly thankful to have arrived in paradise. Google this place, and you'll see beautiful sunsets, endless palm trees,  a huge stretch of golden sand reaching out to the crystal clear Pacific. What you won't see, though, is this:

This was Venice Beach yesterday, taken at almost the exact same spot as the picture above it. After days of storms, the true human impact on our beautiful coastline is laid bare for all to see, and it's a complete embarrassment. Bottle caps, straws, plastic toys and cups- just mountains of trash washing into the storm drains and out into the ocean. On so many levels this is an ecological disaster. If we are lucky enough to be able to call parts of the world paradise, to look at them and experience them with awe and wonder, surely we owe it to those places, indeed the planet as a whole, to keep them that way, for the plants and animals that inhabit those spaces to thrive, and not have their environments destroyed by our negligence.

It's difficult to not get a bit preachy and indeed teary-eyed about this, but let's just try a little bit harder, eh? Let's not be the ones to spoil the fun for everybody, let's be the ones who made sure generations to come knew what the word paradise meant, and where to find it.