I had a plan for this post to be about the delay of Gray Whales departing their feeding grounds and the tangible effects of a warming arctic on their behavior. It's a topic I consider important but i'm shelving it for the time being to address something even more pressing.
Twice since the calendar rolled over I have been confronted with situations where families have been doing balloon releases to commemorate lost loved ones, something which is actually illegal in the state of California already. The damage done by these releases, intentional or not, is devastating to marine life both directly and indirectly. It is tough to confront someone when they are in mourning, but it is also aggrivating to see people "honor" the departed's love of the ocean with such a contradictory act. To that end I want to use this blog post to promote Balloons Blow, which I believe is the organization doing the most in the United States to discourage the pollution balloons cause.
Claims that these balloons are biodegradeable are irrelevant if they do damage to the environment before breaking down, and even then those claims are dubious. When a balloon lands either on land or in the ocean animals encounter the trash long before it breaks down with many organisms confusing the debris for food. The balloon is consumed and never digests, creating a blockage in the animal's stomach which can be fatal.
So to quote this great organization I want to continue supporting: Balloons blow...don't let them go!
Learn more at www.balloonsblow.org and support marine life locally and globally!