Sometimes traditions need to be changed or replaced when it’s discovered that they are harmful. For instance, it’s becoming public knowledge that eating animal products is dangerous to the planet, human health, and that it’s unethical. Therefore, people are transitioning to more plant-based diets. Similarly, there are other things we do that we need to rethink. Things like balloons and lanterns are symbols of celebration and they may look beautiful when released, but they’re actually really harmful to wildlife and the environment.

Recently, a new year light lantern release killed over 30 animals when they landed above a zoo. And balloon releases kill animals and contribute to pollution regularly.

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They become litter in streams, lakes, and beaches, and even if labeled as “biodegradable or eco-friendly,” they take years to disintegrate. In water, they are mistaken for food by marine life. Marine animals like sea turtles, fish, and dolphins ingest balloon pieces and die slowly and painfully when the pieces become lodged in their digestive tract. The balloon strings are also harmful. Birds become entangled in them and die.

Legislation banning these things is possible and necessary. Gibraltar banned gas-filled balloons a year ago to help save wildlife and marine animals. We need more legislation like this around the world. Sign this petition demanding a ban on balloon releases in the U.S.

Sign these other petitions demanding more legislation to protect wildlife:

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