Welcome back to the city of Miami, home to palm trees, sunshine and.garbage? As we return home to Coral Gables, one can’t help but notice a sharp contrast to its utopist reputation; litter is in abundance and impossible to escape. Cutting across the intramural field this morning on my way back from class, I spotted an empty pack of cigarettes smack in the middle of the freshly trimmed grass. Never mind the obvious health risks associated with cigarettes (those tiny murderous cancer sticks). Litter like this poses an even greater threat-one that effects more than just one person, but future generations as well.
Litter isn’t just a problem on campus. Having lived in Miami my whole life, I have watched South Beach transform from tropical paradise to corporate garbage dump. The morning sunshine greets a fresh layer of beer cans and plastic cups, wrist bands and cigarette butts, hastily discarded the day before by tipsy clubbers and toasted sunbathers.
The realization of the deterioration of purity in my home city first hit me when I was 8 and returned home from an afternoon on the beach with a tar spot on the bottom of my foot. I know you can all comprehend the horror of realizing that the showers in the dorms on campus might be cleaner than the sands of South Beach. I haven’t been in its surf or on its sands since.
Maybe this is a reputation we want for Miami: a kind of “peaceful, easy feeling” where our only concern is whether to follow our last pi