Dear Humanity: Please Stop Releasing Balloons!
Russ Chastain 05.11.17
Folks, I’ve got a beef, and it’s about littering.
My father taught me to hate littering when, as a young boy, I accompanied him all over the woods exploring, hunting, and fishing. Almost everywhere we went, we saw garbage left behind by others. We picked it up as often as we could, so the next folks wouldn’t have to experience the same ill feelings we did.
Fast-forward to today, when it has inexplicably become a “thing” to release helium-filled balloons and watch them sail off into the distant sky. Often, it is done in memoriam of someone who has passed away. Participants get “feels” and watch teary-eyed as their Mylar messages fly Heavenward.
What they apparently don’t consider is the ultimate fate of their balloons.
No, they don’t fly up to Heaven’s Great Recycling Center, where they are taken in and the messages duly recorded and passed on to the new resident for whom they were intended. Instead, they fly and drift and then fall to the ground–on someone else’s property.
Folks, that is littering.
I hunt on a wooded property which partially abuts a large lake. Balloon releases must be a big part of lake life there, because I rarely take a long walk in the woods without finding at least one Mylar balloon that someone has thoughtlessly sent my way. As you can imagine, this spoils the mood of any nature walk and makes our place look terrible.
During one turkey hunt on that property, I took the photos used in this post (before picking up the balloons and carrying them out with me).
There I am, still picking up trash that was left in the woods by others. It does not please me.
Should I have sympathy for those who have lost loved ones? Of course! Does their grief make it okay to litter my property and the lands of others? Heck no!
It wouldn’t be okay for you to toss messages of love for your dearly departed onto your neighbor’s lawn, would it? What about if they did it to your property?
Littering is no way to commemorate a life unless maybe the person you’re celebrating was a jackass litterbug.
So: Please, just stop it with the balloon releases.