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To think a balloon launch is a really thoughtless way for a school to raise funds?

(52 Posts)
ShatnersBassoon Fri 25-May-12 17:11:38

I didn't know organisations still did these, I thought they were something that only happened years ago when we were still spraying CFCs about with gay abandon and running our cars on 4*.

The potential environmental impact of hundreds of burst balloons strewn across miles seems pretty awful to me. It will be hazardous to wildlife at worst and an eyesore at best.

It's the school's big and exciting jubilee event and they're charging £1 per balloon. Good fundraiser, no doubt about it.

Should I ask the school whether they'd considered the litter that this event will create? Even giving them the benefit of the doubt and believing the balloons will be biodegradable latex, there are still going to be pieces of rubber that will take months (at least) to completely disappear landing in waterways, in people's gardens etc etc.

Not to mention the world helium shortage shock

So AIB an U eco-warrior? I need to know before I make a dick of myself by raising my concerns.

CrispyCod Fri 25-May-12 17:12:54

I think this is a valid issue and one you should pursue.

ExitPursuedByABear Fri 25-May-12 17:14:33

This has just been discussed on our May Top Trumps thread in The Great Outdoors.

Tis nothing more than mass littering. My DDs school now claims, after me banging on about it relentlessy, that they use biodegradeable balloons. wtaf!

AgentZigzag Fri 25-May-12 17:16:47

I'm not eco-warrior-ish in any way, but I've always thought the same things when I've seen people still letting them off.

Especially when you see pictures of the great rubbish dump the seas are becoming/have become shock

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Fri 25-May-12 17:18:51

YANBU, and even if they use biodegradable balloons if they even exist it's still a heinous waste of helium.

ShatnersBassoon Fri 25-May-12 17:19:44

Ah, sorry, I missed the Top Trumps think completely.

I'm glad I'm not alone in feeling uneasy about it. I will get my best tie-dyed wafty skirt on and present my facts to them on Monday morning. The school prides itself on being an environmentally conscious organisation, and they won some sort of green flag award, so I'm sure it's an oversight more than wilful littering confused

lionheart Fri 25-May-12 17:20:34

I would raise your concerns, with supporting evidence for back up. wink

Salmotrutta Fri 25-May-12 17:24:57

If they are an Eco-school with a green flag they should have thought this through a bit better! Green flag is the highest eco-school award.

I agree with you completely and yes, raise your concerns.

CaroleService Fri 25-May-12 17:25:16

The biodegradeable ones still take months to disappear

tumbleweedblowing Fri 25-May-12 17:28:03

The DDs school replaced theirs with a pigeon race once after this concern was raised.

If you live anywhere near a racing club, maybe you could rope them in?

QueenEdith Fri 25-May-12 17:28:10

And in the time they take to disappear, they are a horrible choking hazard for wildlife.

I would refuse to take part, and tell the school why. I would also make sure DCs know the reason very clearly, so they can deflect any direct or indirect pressure to participate.

exexpat Fri 25-May-12 17:28:16

The Marine Conservation Society has been campaigning about this - the slogan is "Don't let go." Here's their website, and here's a leaflet they produce. Maybe you should print a few copies of the leaflet off and give them to the staff/parents involved?

The MCS also ask people to report upcoming balloon releases to them, and have some suggestions for alternatives here. I'd have thought a balloon-popping competition might be a good alternative for a school?

LeeCoakley Fri 25-May-12 17:28:58

From my local paper this week -is this you?

theodorakis Fri 25-May-12 17:30:39

Don't care about the green but the wildlife and farm animals should be protected from such a pointless thing

AgentZigzag Fri 25-May-12 17:31:27

Perhaps you could go in with questions of whether they're biodegradable and presuming they've thought about the implications for letting them go, rather than a tie dye/wafty skirt approach?

If you give them loads of facts on it and they turn round with a six page assessment of how they're actually going to reduce their overall school carbon footprint doing it, you might not feel able to set foot in school again wished you'd not bothered grin

BackforGood Fri 25-May-12 17:33:18

I'm not in the slightest hippy-ish, nor am I especially 'green' or eco-friendly, but I agree with you totally on this one, so YADNBU IMO.
I would go into my dd's school if they were proposing this. Of course, they've probably already bought them and it might be a bit late for this event, but hopefully it would stop a future one.

1950sHousewife Fri 25-May-12 17:34:49

I mentioned it to my school and they stopped doing it. I felt like a total killjoy as it raises a lot of money and the kids love it. But the school were totally unaware of the problems environmentally.

There is an alternative thing where there are big balloon sculptures and the kids get to pop them and if there is a piece of paper with a certain number they win a prize. Still makes rubbery mess, but in a controlled way that can be disposed of.

ThreadWatcher Fri 25-May-12 17:34:58

I think its a waste of helium and its littering/choking hazard for wildlife.

I would definitely be keen to protest about this if my town had one.

1950sHousewife Fri 25-May-12 17:35:55

Have a look at the RSPB website. They are very anti balloon launches and it's a good organisation to quote.

ImaginateMum Fri 25-May-12 17:37:33

Our school thought about doing this when it turned 100 last year. Instead they released butteflies which was beautiful.

ShatnersBassoon Fri 25-May-12 17:49:01

"From my local paper this week -is this you?"

No, not me. Different county and I'm younger and less cleavagey, and I wouldn't dream of going to the local press about it.

I'm worried that I'll come across as a major pain in the arse killjoy. The letter only went out yesterday, so I'm assuming the stuff's all ready to go and some people will have given their pound today. It's such an obvious mistake though, I can't believe I'm the only parent that has concerns. I'll go in gently-gently and see how they react.

2shoes Fri 25-May-12 17:50:00

I would object strongly to it

1950sHousewife Fri 25-May-12 17:50:18

Why don't you mention it, and suggest something else for next year.

I love the idea of the butterfly release. Lovely.

ShatnersBassoon Fri 25-May-12 17:56:31

Thanks, 1950sHousewife, the RSPB website has an article purely about Jubilee celebrations, relating to the dangers balloon releases (and fireworks and lanterns) pose to the environment. I'll print it off and get my doe eyed child to show it to the Head on Monday. I know I won't be thanked for bringing it to their attention, but I would disappointed in myself if I did nothing.

GrimmaTheNome Fri 25-May-12 18:05:27

YANBU - you are absolutely right. The organisers simply can't have thought about the implications of a balloon launch. Thoughtlessly releasing objects which could kill animals eg seals - now thats what I'd call 'killjoy', it really can kill a joyous creature.

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