But, no matter where you are, follow a road for long enough and the landmass will end, bringing you back to the sea. That was the road I would take at the end of every assignment. Sometimes to surf, sometimes to paddle, sometimes just to sit and stare at its immenseness.
Just taking the time to take everything in.
Listening to the hoots of the surfers after the exhilaration of a little cover-up. Watching the kids splashing water at each other and their screams of joy as the cold droplets hit their faces. Laughing at the scampering dogs, spraying sand on their owners as they skid to a halt. And the beach cleaners, meticulously sifting sand to take the smallest fragment of plastic away from the high tide line.
These are the moments to cherish. The moments when we shine. Where we take care of ourselves and the places which allow us to experience joy and pleasure.
Look after the sea, and it will look after us.
Rich Hardy has led campaigns for some of Britain’s most creative and successful non-profits including Surfers Against Sewage, cleaning up Europe’s coastlines and starting their fight against ocean plastic; and Veganuary, a pledge campaign that inspired a quarter of a million people worldwide to try a vegan diet in 2019.
All the while, over the course of two decades, he’s been going undercover to document how nature and animals are suffering for human gain. A Daily Mirror ‘Animal Hero’ award winner he has recently published his first book ‘Not As Nature Intended’, with Unbound publications.