The New York Whale and Dolphin Action League


THE CAMPAIGN TO STOP BALLOON RELEASES

Sign the petition to Stop the MASS RELEASE OF BALLOONS:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/3/Help-Stop-Mass-Balloon-Releases/

NY4WHALES is trying to stop balloon releases everywhere!
Here are some of our attempts to keep balloons away from wildlife, and the responses they have generated.
If you know of a mass balloon release being organized in your area, please contact us.

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The Girl Scouts of the USA has consistently avoided the issue of balloon releases, although local troops are known to release balloons during their parties or other events. Please contact the GSUSA and tell them to take a stand for the environment and wildlife, and take an official position against the destructive releasing of balloons. http://www.girlscouts.org/contact/email.asp

GIRL SCOUTS OF AMERICA
Troop Balloon Releases
The Currituck Co. NC RELAY FOR LIFE

6/12/11
From: NY4WHALES
Subject: From GSUSA Web Site: POLICY ON BALLOON RELEASES

It has come to our attention that the Girl Scouts are to be given a large quantity of balloons for release at a Currituck Co NC RELAY FOR LIFE foot race. Balloon releases are deadly to wildlife, and are actively consumed by ever-hungry turtles, seabirds and even whales. They take many months to "biodegrade", at least 6 - plenty of time to lodge in stomachs and intestines and kill wildlife! Balloons will burst and return to the earth in fragments, where they look like plankton and jellyfish, even kelp. How could the Girl Scouts of America participate in such a environmentally destructive activity? Participating in balloon releases is LITTERING. Releasing balloons for a charity cause only creates another problem: as wildlife suffers and dies, and non-profit groups (including, ironically, the Boy and Girl Scouts!) are left to bear the cost and burden of cleanup and wildlife recovery. What is the official policy on participating in balloon releases by the Girl Scouts of America? Please do not allow the young ladies to think so little of the consequences of this senseless action. This is a problem of creating litter, and harming wildlife, two issues that the Girl Scouts should consider, and they should refuse to participate in any activity that involves balloon releases. Please let me know GSA's official position on balloon releases. Thank you!

RESPONSE:

Thank you for your message to Girl Scouts of the USA. We take no position on balloon releases. This is an issue that should be taken up at the local GS council - Girl Scout Council of Colonial Coast, Chesapeake, VA 23322-7002, (757) 547-4405, E-mail: askus@gsccc.org, Web Site: http://www.gsccc.org

We are happy to relay the message for their attention and consideration.

Thanks again for contacting Girl Scouts.

Rosa Esposito, Information Specialist,
Girl Scouts of the USA
1-800-478-7248

This letter was rewritten and sent to the above troop.

LOCAL GIRL SCOUTS DISCOURAGE BALLOON RELEASES, but stop short of stating they have a NO BALLOON RELEASE policy:

Thank you for contacting the Girl Scout Council of Colonial Coast regarding your concern over the release of balloons in North Carolina.

This is not the practice of our Council and we discourage such action.

I will look into this matter with the volunteer leaders in that area.

Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Mrs. Germanotta

Marcella Germanotta
Communications Director
Girl Scout Council of Colonial Coast
A Place for Girls
912 Cedar Rd., Chesapeake, VA 23322
757-547-4405 ext. 1258; direct 549-0836; fax757-547-1872 marcyg@gsccc.org

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6/16/11

CAMP NABE/TIMMY'S FUND BALLOON RELEASES
MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA

No one can minimize the grief a family experiences during the loss of a child or family member.

However, if a child (or family member) who has passed could speak they would surely say, "You are killing wildlife, in my name. STOP RELEASING BALLOONS! They kill whales, they kill birds, they kill turtles, and a lot more! STOP DOING THIS!"

Balloons generally travel many miles before falling to the earth, sometimes but not always in fragments, where they look like jellyfish, plankton or kelp to a hungry marine animal. Millions of animals have been killed by these released balloons and their fragments. Marketers tell us latex balloons are 100% biodegradable, but it takes AT LEAST 6 months (or longer) to even begin the degradation process, far long enough to be consumed by unsuspecting yet hungry marine animals. In addition, strings, ribbons and Mylar are not degradable. 3,000 balloons were released by Camp Nabe on May 13, 2011. Who went out to pick them up when they fell? Last year's Timmy's Fund littered the air by releasing 2,438 balloons, but no one reported on the participants finding their balloons, picking them up and disposing of them properly.

Non-profit organizations and cleanup crews face the unfair burden of cleaning up the mess, while wildlife rescue and recovery groups pay for recovery, necropsy, burial, or (if lucky) rehabilitation. This has to stop. Releasing balloons for memorial events, funeral services or for some charity only creates another huge problem. Balloon releases ARE AN EXERCISE IN LITTERING, should not be organized, should be banned, and penalties and fines properly imposed for these deliberate polluting activities. Through these releases, we teach our children and the public that we don't have to consider the consequences of our actions, and that one moment's visual pleasure more than compensates for the loss of whales, birds, turtles and every hungry critter that sees a meal in a deadly mass of bungled and fallen balloons.

We can all sympathize with grieving families. However, we are all SICK OF SEEING TRASH all over our beaches, roads, etc. Balloon releases are offensive to many, and are no "comfort" to those who realize the real fate of the items of this senseless source of serious pollution. One does not need to release a balloon to celebrate a life! There are many alternatives that do not create another serious and costly problem, offend others, and flaunt responsibility for actions, when we should be fostering genuine concern for this ailing earth and its declining species. (Contact us for suggestions!)

Sadly, the "symbol" of a balloon carrying its message to a loved one also represents a death sentence for wildlife. While one sympathizes with these losses, it is also grievous to witness wildlife destruction, to see balloons released knowing these will kill many. Children that understand are heartbroken when faced with the realization of the effects of balloon releases on animals and the environment. How long will we keep the truth from them?

Now Timmy's Fund is planning more releases, with one on June 25th. There is time to stop this airborne-litter pollution release. Will state and local governments be called upon to enforce anti-littering laws?

What can you do to help?

For more on the problem of balloon releases please visit: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/3/Help-Stop-Mass-Balloon-Releases/ We will send photos of balloon litter and the consequent associated death of wildlife in a following email. If you want testimony from cleanup crews who fill garbage bag after bag with balloons and their fragments, we can send those as well. We will also send pictures of dead animals with balloon ribbons, strings and wads of balloons coming out of their mouths, wrapped around them, strangling and killing them. Can all this discourage and stop the upcoming balloon releases?

Sincerely,
Taffy Williams, Director

Please follow these links to the coverage:

http://wboy.com/story.cfm?func=viewstory&storyid=99437
http://www.timmysfund.org/balloon-release.php
http://wboy.com/story.cfm?func=viewstory&storyid=101344
http://www.allbusiness.com/reports-reviews-sections/listings-notices/14827892-1.html


The New York Whale and Dolphin Action League
PO Box 273, Tuckahoe, NY 10707 USA
Phone: 914-793-9186
Email: ny4whales@optonline.net
To subscribe send an email to ny4whales-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

A Project of Cetacean Society International

URL for this page: http://ny4whales.org/stop_balloon_releases.html