the TAO of CHANGE

a boots-on-the-ground view of the change that's a-foot

Posts Tagged ‘balloons’

Monday, June 14th, 2010

I run or hike on trails in the woods every morning with my dogs and I appreciate the fact that I’m out there on nature’s terms. It’s not exactly Wild Kingdom, but I’ve been up close and personal with snakes, turtles, raccoons, deer and was even followed by a coyote one day (ok, that one was not my favorite, but still, all part of the package). This morning, I came upon a very baby possum, living proof that all things in infant form are adorable.

So, it felt entirely out of context to come across these deflated party balloons in the woods yesterday. What’s up with balloons anyway? There’s a store down the street that sells nothing but balloons. Really? So much for form and function.

Ok, I really do have a life, but still, I had to look up a little balloon history:

The first balloons were invented/discovered in the 18th century in France and made from paper. By 1803, we made balloons in the first rubber factory, and now balloons are made from latex, which is rubber mixed with chemical additives. Some of these chemicals, of course, end up as waste in the manufacturing process – the others? Well, most end up as waste in their burst balloon state – like these in the forest, after just a few hours of use. Although rubber and latex will slowly degrade, the coagulant chemicals – or the ribbons tied onto the tails – will not.

Watching a helium-filled balloon float off “into space” is only a fantasy. Those balloons inevitably end up earthbound, tangled in tree limbs, on the ground, or in waterways, where they endanger wildlife and the environment.

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