*my letter to Harper
1 November 2000
Harper Collins Publishers
Dear Madam or Sir:
Jamie Lee Curtis is great. My appreciation
of her as a celebrity makes me that much more frustrated that the
word about the danger of balloons has not reached her and
way too many other people.
I loved the
flights of fancy in Where Do Balloons Go?, but the reality
of released balloons is too sobering for it to be ignored. Balloons
eventually get back to earth, either whole or in pieces. The Caribbean
Conservation Corporation, on their website (http://cccturtle.org/involved.htm)
baldly states one consequence of returns, when the balloons end
up in the sea: "Sea turtles mistakenly eat the balloons and
die." A scientist who studied one whale who died from mistaken
balloon ingestion is with the Marine Mammal Stranding Center, in
Brigantine, N.J. (http://www.mmsc.org/).
Every single species of sea turtle
is endangered or threatened.
Harper-Collins and Ms. Curtis could
do a great good deed for the planet -- by publishing the
factual answer to Where Do Balloons Go? and helping people
understand that the fun of balloons is in keeping them around, not
in letting them go.
I sent e-mails to your website in September,
and a hard-copy letter (copy enclosed) to Ms. Curtis on 30 September.
Ive received no responses.
Please, get involved!
*my letter to Jamie
3 October 2000
Dear Ms. Curtis:
Ive always enjoyed and respected
you and your work. Whenever I see your smile it makes me feel good.
My lifes focus has been the oceans
and the creatures who inhabit them, so Ive been hearing about
balloons for years. The fact that you havent heard how balloons
can hurt wildlife is a testimony to the fact that environmentalists
myself included have failed to educate people about
Released balloons return to earth eventually,
either whole or in pieces. Animals eat them. Theyre believed
to have caused or led to the deaths of marine turtles and at least
Ms. Curtis, I know that your book doesnt
encourage people to release balloons, but Where Do Balloons Go?
has put you into a fantastic position to help animals worldwide,
by adding the true answer to your question in addition to
the imaginative one. I think this could be done in a way that would
give you greatly favorable publicity (well, except possibly from
the balloon industry), too.
want to take just my word for this. Any environmental agency can
confirm the dangers of balloons to wildlife, but the one whose website
mentions it is the Caribbean Conservation Corporation, at http://www.cccturtle.org/involved.htm:
"Helium-filled balloons are frequently released into the sky
to celebrate events. Like plastic trash, helium balloons end up
in the ocean, especially when released near the coast. Sea turtles
mistakenly eat the balloons and die." The scientist who studied
the whale who died from balloon ingestion was with the Marine Mammal
Stranding Center, in Brigantine, N.J. (http://www.mmsc.org/).
One way I dealt with my balloon-release
distress was to write a version of the true answer to the question.
I hope you enjoy it.
Dee Scarr, Touch The Sea