3 Alternatives to Wildlife-Killing Balloons

Image courtesy Zoe Weil.
A couple of weeks ago my husband and I were bushwhacking through a wilderness area in Maine. We were far from any town, deep in thick woods, in an area where we’ve never seen another human being. How surprising then to come upon this Mylar balloon.

This balloon, with its congratulatory message, had once been filled with helium. It had escaped its confines and floated up to the sky far from its place of origin. When the helium was gone, the balloon floated back down to earth and landed in these woods. It is now trash.

Fortunately, this balloon landed in a forest where it was unlikely to cause much harm. Had it landed in the ocean close by, it could easily have been mistaken for a jellyfish, swallowed by a marine mammal.

Balloons are festive and fun, but they can be deadly and destructive to other species. Even those that aren’t filled with helium quickly become landfill. After all, balloons aren’t meant to last. There are many festive ways to celebrate birthdays, graduations, and other special occasions, that don’t include balloons and that invite our creativity. Here are 3 ideas:

  1. Make congratulatory collages from old magazines – these offer you the chance to say and show what you want in an imaginative, beautiful way – far more welcome than a store-bought balloon.
  2. Decorate with branches, grasses, pretty weeds and wildflowers, and other found objects.
  3. Write a poem, share a story, craft a Haiku, sing a song to celebrate a loved one’s special day or event – your effort will be vastly more appreciated than a bunch of balloons.

~ Zoe

Zoe Weil, President, Institute for Humane Education
Author of Most Good, Least Harm, Above All, Be Kind, and The Power and Promise of Humane Education
My TEDxConejo talk: "Solutionaries"
My TEDxDirigo talk: “The World Becomes What You Teach"


Get tickets now for the October 13 NYC debut of my 1-woman show -- My Ongoing Problems with Kindness: Confessions of MOGO Girl -- at United Solo, the world's largest solo theatre festival.

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