Our ‘Don’t Inflate to Celebrate’ campaign:
I was a Voluntary Marine Warden down at Kimmeridge (for Dorset Wildlife Trust – 2004-2008), when I got when I was given the role of ‘balloon warden’. I was asked if I wanted to design a flyer/leaflet highlighting the negative impacts of balloon releases (not about sky lanterns at the time, though, as we hadn’t heard of them then and they didn’t seem that popular at the time, of course I could have just had my head buried in the sand..??)
Anyhow, leapt at the chance – did loads of research and came up with a logo.
A few years later, when I started my FdSc Marine Ecology and Conservation (at Kingston Mauward College – through Bournemouth University), I made the decision to withdraw from my volunteering with the Wildlife Trust and concentrate on my work load – academic work has always been a bit of a struggle for me – I have always preferred the practical side of things.
During my FdSc Marine Ecology and Conservation , I did a Independent Research Project – ‘Measuring the percentage of degradation of latex balloons in varying conditions’ (in fresh water, brackish water and salt water – over a course of eleven weeks – a longer period of time would have been preferred).
When I had time, I was doing frequent beach cleans, writing to organisations/charities asking them to (please) reconsider their balloon releases…and I did a couple of talks for schools and interested parties.
In 2012, We launched Don’t Inflate To Celebrate on Facebook (I had met my partner by now), setting up a page (making it ‘official’) – to share articles about the negative impacts of balloon releases, contacts of people planning on holding balloon releases (so that people could also get in touch with them; to ask them to kindly reconsider) and generally sharing educational material on the negative impacts of balloon releases..
By this time, Sky/Chinese Lanterns were becoming popular too – so we decided to add that to our campaign and approach this in the same way as the balloon part of our campaign.
The decision was made – that we needed some educational material – so we designed and printed flyers. All self-funded. It was important to us to have some hard copies (to give out at events), as well as the information we were sharing on Social Media.
The first few years (since launching on facebook) were quite tough because we were often met with opposition), but sometimes we were met with positive results – people reconsidering their balloon/sky lantern release/race.
Some people actually thanked us for getting in touch and for using considerate language (because most of us know that balloon releases are an emotive subject as they are often held in memory of someone – so of course, emotions are raw and ‘one’, who is asking *them* to reconsider, has to tread carefully).
Anyway, because of these positive results, we continued and slowly, but surely, the message about the negative impacts of aerial litter got ‘out there’ …with the additional help of Martin Dorey’s 2minutebeachclean campaign.
Roll on to 2020 and we are still going strong with our campaign and are even more determined than ever to get balloon and sky lanterns banned (with the help of our followers) – especially during this COVID-19 Lockdown where some people are choosing to praise the NHS by releasing balloons and/or sky lanterns!
In the meantime, please continue to spread the word about the negative impacts of aerial litter to everyone you know then maybe, MAYBE, we can convince this Government to ban ALL helium balloon releases and sky lanterns once and for all.
The Dorset Rubber Jellyfish campaign continues this weekend at Durlston Country Park, Swanage on Saturday April 13th (10.30 – 3 pm).
Rubber Jellyfish is a feature-length documentary film by Australian wildlife conservationist and mum-to-be Carly Wilson. In the film Carly goes on a mission to uncover the truth surrounding sea-turtles and their propensity for dining on plastic waste.
These majestic creatures which have been around since the age of dinosaurs are under threat from ocean plastic and in particular bags, wraps and balloons which mimic their prey. Most shockingly Carly discovers ‘bio-degradable’ a term often used to sell eco-friendly alternatives being abused and so-called scientific studies misleading.
Take a look at any balloon packaging and it will tell you Choking Hazard!
12 – 1 pm Film-Fiesta in the Exhibition/ Gallery Space
Origami Balloon and Sea-Turtle making workshops suitable for young & old PLUS take-part in the Hunt for Deadly-Jellies game and sign-up to our pledge ‘Don’t Let Go’!
1 pm – 2.20 pm Rubber Jellyfish film (80 min 12A)
2.30 – 3.00 pm Question & Answer discussion
Don’t Inflate to Celebrate and Ecotainment! both campaigned to bring this film to the UK for it’s European premiere and will be present at the Durlston screening. it is only the second time the film has been shown in Dorset, there will be a suggested donation of £5 to watch the film 12A recommended, under twelves to be accompanied by adult. For further info. please consult the www.waveofchange.uk website and @DorsetRubberJellyfish Facebook page.
*Featured Image credit Wimborne War on Waste
On Saturday 13th April
AT Durlston Country Park
The activities from early to mid-afternoon are as follows:
12-1pm Craft activities – in the Gallery – colouring-in, make your own origami turtles and have a go at our brand new ‘deadly jelly’ game.
We will also have information regarding our campaigns – Don’t Inflate to Celebrate (including sky lanterns) and our BBQ with nature campaign promoting Casus Grill
1pm- 2.20pm Rubber Jellyfish film ( 12A.1hr 20 mins)
– in the Learning Centre
2.30-2.45pm Discussion/Q & As
There will be no need to book, just turn up on the day.
There will be a suggested £5 donation on the door.
For more information on the venue including how to get there, please visit:
Don’t Inflate to Celebrate & Ecotainment! are proud to present the European Film Premiere of Rubber Jellyfish in Wimborne on March 14th. The venue will be transformed into an underwater wonder-world at CLaRC, King Street Wimborne BH21 1EB from 6pm. Reserve your seats for this extravaganza and see you name on the BIG screen via Crowdfunder. They are raising money for a film-tour and will be announcing more Dorset dates on the night. Entry also available by donation on-the-door and via Eventbrite. There is ample free parking (after 6pm) and it’s child-friendly, featuring crafts, stalls and activities from local campaigns Wimborne War on Waste and Ideas 2 Action.
This promises to be a very green and eco-friendly plastic-free celebration of the seas
6 pm – 7 pm Film Fiesta
On-site Vegan Cafe serving snacks and beverages
Crafts & Activities – Origami, Colouring-in, Rock Painting, Be a Mermaid!
7 –8.30 Rubber Jellyfish Film
High Definition 3.7 meter/ 12ft wide-screen
Professional Stereo Audio
8.45 – 9.30 Q&A Discussion
Rubber Jellyfish is a feature-length documentary film about Sea-Turtles and their propensity for eating discarded ‘novelty’ balloons. These majestic creatures which have been around since the age of the dinosaurs are under threat from ocean plastic and in particular plastic-bags, wraps and balloons which mimic their prey.
A helium balloon released into the atmosphere will travel 8 km up before exploding into a distinctive jellyfish-shape. You see balloons as bio-degradable is really just a myth created by commercial interests to increase sales and irresponsible behaviour aka ‘littering from the sky’! Take a look at any balloon packaging and it will tell you Choking Hazard.
Unlike sea-birds and other marine predators susceptible to dining on our plastic-waste the incredible evolution of the sea-turtle has created Papillae. These are downward facing throat spines meaning it cannot regurgitate anything that enters and the only way is down. Now compare a floating bag or balloon to the Jellyfish prey and voila the perfect storm for species extinction due to human greed and negligence.
Enter our protagonist Carly Wilson, Australian wildlife-conservationist turned film-maker who decided to make Rubber Jellyfish instead of publishing scientific research which may or may not be adequately communicated to the public. Just like the Plastic Ocean film that came before it Rubber Jellyfish shares narrative and content but it’s more focussed, factual and shorter. Whereas Plastic Ocean’s global outlook felt overwhelming Rubber Jellyfish is more.. for want of a better analogy, digestible.
WAVE OF CHANGE
These events form part of the Plastic-Free ‘Wave of Change’ that was created during A Plastic Ocean film-screenings in 2018. That film was shown locally in fifteen venues to over 600 people after an initial screening in Wimborne, East-Dorset (May 2017). The response from the public to Plastic Ocean was overwhelming and this was partly due to BBC Blue Planet 2 that screened in November of that year. ‘From that moment on the whole plastic-free thing went mainstream and was prevalent throughout the whole of 2018’ says Lee Hadaway of Ecotainment! ‘Obviously we would like to repeat the success of Plastic Ocean with Rubber Jellyfish but without a sponsor we are relying on public support’. It could be as simple as liking and sharing their posts on social-media or coming to a screening as either a guest or a volunteer.
Sophie From Litter Free Dorset says, ‘Balloons negatively impact our environment by littering streams, lakes, and beaches. It’s the same as intentionally throwing rubbish on the ground or into the ocean. Even balloons marketed as biodegradable or “eco-friendly” can still take years to disintegrate and are not any better for the environment than standard balloons. There are many alternatives to balloons- making pompoms, flying recycled material flags or planting a tree- Lets embrace and celebrate these alternatives!’
Don’t Inflate to Celebrate is teaming up with fellow #WaveofChange partner, Ecotainment! to host screenings of the Australian full-length documentary ‘Rubber jellyfish’ around Dorset:
We all know that throwing rubbish on the ground is littering, so why is letting a balloon float away seen as something different? Rubber Jellyfish is a feature-length documentary that explores the effects of helium balloons on the environment, wildlife and human beings. Mum-to-be Carly Wilson sets out on a personal journey to meet key players on all sides in the fight to ban balloons, and exposes the confronting truth behind our favourite party product. As she travels around Australia and explores problems around the world, seeking to understand the science and various points of view, Carly discovers a range of issues, from the heartbreaking impact on sea turtles to the potentially deadly effect of helium on children. Her journey takes her from littered beaches to the capital, as she speaks to businesses and politicians to find out why the balloon problem is being ignored and if something can be done.
We will very shortly be launching a Crowd-funder so that we can hopefully raise enough funds to be able to show this important documentary about an environmental issue that seems to be lost component in amongst the plastic pollution that’s destroying our planet and killing our wildlife – aerial litter A.K.A balloon releases….
WATCH THIS SPACE!
Today the Dorset Wave of Change continued at Thomas Hardye school in Dorchester. Where approximately 350 students watched the Sky News special report Plastic Tide (45min). The hour long session was introduced to students by Lee Hadaway of Ecotainment! and ended with a discussion. Here is the introduction published for the first time. Be sure to check our Media page for the full-length Plastic Tide video along with similar clips and news articles.
“if there is intelligent life on this planet its not necessarily us”
Those are the words of Bob Hunter a journalist, environmentalist and founder member of Greenpeace. That’s a strange comment from a human being whose scientific name Homo-Sapien literally means Wise Man. Bob was referring to the great Whales which were on the verge of being wiped-out by hunters in the 1970s. These magnificent beasts, the largest brains on the planet, have evolved for millennia and just like us humans have complex social structures and language.
So what is it about us humans that means we show so little regards for our environment and other species on this ‘spaceship earth’. There is after all no ‘Planet B’ so are we hard-wired to cause environmental destruction? Since humans left the African continent millennia ago we literally hunted and gathered our nuts-off slowly wiping out species of flora, fauna, beast and bird as we went. But in the last 200 years things have been accelerating at an alarming rate.
There has been talk of a ‘tipping point’ – the point of no return. Of ‘planetary boundaries’ the limits to which eco-systems can support life are being reached and exceeded. If this is true then how do we take-action quickly and effectively in unity? How do we create this mass-movement peacefully without causing more harm or disruption to the established ways of the wise old-world. Well put simply we can all start today by refusing the single-use plastic items which have become so prevalent in the past twenty years. (Secret life of Landfill BBC)
Bottled water is BIG business. It’s so unbelievably profitable, 500 times more expensive than tap water, that billions are spent on marketing this product as pure, refreshing and crystal clear. Well guess what so is tap-water! The only difference being that you have to THINK ahead and bring your own bottle to work or college or school instead of stopping and buying a new one everyday. Some environmentalists say #waterislife in which case who has the right to bottle and sell water? When all life on earth is dependant on fresh clean water – is it even possible to ever own water??
So why has plastic become the poster-child for environmentalists like me? Well unlike other environmental issues such as genetically modified organisms, climate change and pesticides plastic is visible.Imagine slicing open your daily bread and seeing hundreds of coloured specks from GMO or ingredients that were produced using pesticides. The brightly coloured pieces of plastic littering the street, ocean & countryside do not decay but they break-up into smaller and smaller pieces making them even harder to clear-up. One piece can literally become millions of tiny pieces of micro-plastic which then accumulate un-detectable.
So the purpose of this session is to make you pass on plastic, pack-it-in or pick-it-up!