When you release a helium balloon into the sky, it does NOT go to heaven. Every balloon eventually comes back down, often, in the ocean. Limp balloons in the water are a serious hazzard. Fish, dolphins, and turtles mistake them for food and attempt to eat them. Animals and plants get tangled in the ribbons. Many dead whales and other sea creatures have been found with balloons in their stomachs. Balloons cannot be digested, and block the passage of food, causing the animal to slowly starve to death. Releasing balloons causes suffering and death of animals, and has no place in celebratory events.
Tragically, some people use balloons as a symbol of rising to heaven. Oprah’s Big Give show recently gave accolades for a balloon release to send messages to the deceased father of two young girls. What an unfortunately memorable and publicized event – how will those innocent girls feel when later they realize the reality, and consequences of their actions? How many people will be ignorantly inspired to make their own similar events? Many alternatives might be used to show respect or send messages or celebrate. Balloon releases need to be stopped!
A few words from Oprah would probably do the trick, but you can help by helping people think about other ways to express their emotion. BALLOONS DO NOT GO TO HEAVEN.