Boo on Balloons!
Who doesn't love a party? I love parties and celebrating fun stuff like birthdays and super cool accomplishments. There are lots of fun ways to celebrate, but one way that we sometimes celebrate isn't so great for our ocean friends. Balloons, like plastic bags, are a big problem in the ocean.
As you know, I love exploring the world wherever I am and finding out lots about the wildlife there! But, I also love knowing what's right here, where I live. So, for the past year, I have been learning lots more about the amazing ocean life in New York City. I was surprised to learn about all of the dolphins and whales that live right here!
Thanks to Gotham Whale Watch and American Princess Cruises, I've had the chance to go out on several whale watching cruises to see--amazingly--whales right here in New York! Although I never got a shot of it, trust me, it's pretty incredible to see a whale breach with the New York City skyline in the background! (you can see some of my photos of whale watching in NYC here).
But back to those pesky balloons. Once we're done with balloons--especially if we release them into the air--they have to come back down. And they often end up in the ocean. Just like plastic bags, balloons look like jellyfish floating on the surface. So, our ocean friends end up eating them. (Yuck-o!).
This past summer, when I was out with Gotham Whale Watch, we were watching an incredible show of young humpback whales breaching and diving. And? Floating right by? A bunch of deflated balloons. The awesome crew of American Princess Cruises went out of their way to scoop those balloons up and take them out of the water.
Just like you clean your room because you want to take good care of your clothes and your toys, or you help your parents care for your garden or your pets, we all need to work together to take care of our ocean, because it's our home too!
Think about it this way. How old are you? Here's a great chart from the #KickPlastic campaign that shows how long different kinds of debris last. When we throw things away--or worse, when they end up on our beaches or in the ocean--they don't really go away. That balloon? It never disintegrates. That plastic water bottle? It's going to last for 450 years. How old are you? How old are your parents? Your aunts and uncles? Your grandparents? The balloon and the bottle are going to last several lifetimes more!
So, I was so excited to read about the Hope Community School on the Orkney Islands of Scotland. They took on a letter writing project to make the waters around their waters safer, cleaner, and healthier for people and ocean creatures by asking their local government officials to ban balloons at local government events. I thought it was amazing that these students put their ideas into action!
So, back to those fun celebrations. What can we use instead of balloons? Balloons Blow... Don't Let Them Go has a list of fun suggestions:
Do you have any other cool ideas to share? How can we celebrate without using balloons that end up in our waters?