There are many alternatives to balloon releases. Instead of littering the planet by letting balloons go, you can instead have fun, celebrate, and remember with environmentally friendly alternatives.
Let your imagination soar and who knows what creative, one-of-a-kind idea you might come up with!
Sky lanterns: (Chinese paper lanterns) are not an environmentally-friendly alternative. They have caused fires, killed animals and nearly burned people alive.
Butterfly releases: Lepidopterists warn that butterfly releases are not good for the environment either. They also promote the breeding and exploitation of animals. Click here or here for more information.
Here are some ideas to get you started…
Plant in remembrance- A great way to honor and remember a loved one or an important issue is to bring more life to our planet. By planting a native tree, flower garden or butterfly garden you are not only giving life to that plant you are also providing shelter, resources, and clean air to all kinds of wildlife and people. This remembrance will last a very long time and you can visit your tree or flower bed as much as you want and create more life by doing so! Flowers and trees can also be used at fundraising events as incentives to donate. They could then be planted in a public area, perhaps taking on different shapes or words, or can be taken home by participants to be planted elsewhere as a living memory. Here’s a great place to find trees: www.GiveTreeGifts.com Another great idea: http://createyourforest.ca/ If you enter the coupon code GTGCYF10 during the checkout process you will save 10% on your order.
Flags, banners, streamers, & dancing inflatables- Many businesses are realizing the benefits of using reusable eye-catching signage. Colorful streamers, flags and banners save money and time over balloons, ribbons and helium. They are also weather resistant, save Helium, and can be reused again and again! Here are some great companies: www.ribbonstreamers.com, www.custommadeflags.com, www.fortmyersbanners.com
Ribbon dancers- Instead of giving kids and guests balloons at parties or events why not give them something a little more engaging. Balloons will simply sit tied up or be gone in a flash if released (not to mention harm wildlife and deplete helium resources). Ribbon dancers are beautiful and require people to move around and have fun! A group of people spinning and twirling with a colorful long ribbon following their every move is surely a site to see. You can even have guests make their own ribbon dancer, decorations and all!
Kites & garden spinners- Vibrant fabric that dance in the high winds or eye-catching colors spinning in the garden. Unlike balloons, kites and spinners can be enjoyed for years. Here’s an awesome place to find both, and more: www.zephyrkites.com Kites can be a great prize to give people who donate and can then be flown to draw attention. Here is an example of a successful group that uses kites for fundraising: www.exeterhospital.com
Bunting- A great way to decorate for parties and celebrations is bunting! These beautifulwaves of fabric can be made at home and uniquely designed with different patterns, shapes, and colors. They are also reusable, fun to make, and are sure to light up the party! Here is a link to learn how to make your own: www.rockfarmer.me/2013/01/04/balloon-free-party-decor/
Pinwheels- With flashy colors fluttering in the wind pinwheels are sure to catch many
eyes. They are great for attracting attention to businesses, awareness projects, birthday parties and more! Kids can have fun making there own, find easy instructions here. Here are examples of pinwheels making a point: http://www.pinwheelsforprevention.org/index.php,
Tissue Paper Pompoms- For some color burst at parties or celebrations tissue paper pompoms are spectacular! These pretty, colorful poof balls can be easily made at home and are reusable. They are also fun activities for kids to make too! Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to make your own: www.marthastewart.com/265163/pom-poms-and-luminarias-how-to
Drumming- The drum has been called the heartbeat of Mother Earth. Using drums to celebrate does not create waste or cause danger to wildlife. The beat brings people together and can be used for any occasion. Here is a great example of how drumming can replace harmful celebrations: www.drumminginstead.org
Get flocked- A flock of pink flamingos brightens everyone’s day. Fake flamingos can be placed on the lawn of one’s choice for a donation, where they will stay for a few days before moving to the next scheduled location. They can be reused for years of flocking fun. Here is a great example.
Floating flowers- For a lot of people, the gently upward drifting of balloons gives them a sense of letting go, and at the same time thinking the balloon will eventually reach their loved one. Because remembering a loved one by potentially killing another life isn’t exactly the best feeling, there are many alternatives. Floating flowers or flower petals down a calm stream can give you the same sense of letting go. You will be able to be in nature and feel the energy of your loved one and all the life that surrounds you! Be sure to use non-poisonous flowers and not to let go an excessive amount.
Jump rope for a cause- Jump roping is fun, good for your body, and a great way to get people together! Using jump ropes to bring awareness to a cause engages participants and will bring attention from others who see. Here is a cause that has been very successful using jump ropes to bring awareness and funds to a growing issue.
Environmental Fundraising -Fundraising with Earth-themed & eco-concious products. Click here. Raise funds and keep the environment clean of wasteful plastic straws. Fundraising with glass straws, click here or click here.
Ten eco-friendly fundraising ideas- Click here.
Lighting candles & Luminaries- A great way to remember a loved one or welcome new life is by lighting candles. You can have your guests pass a single candle around with each person saying something about your loved one or a welcoming wish for new life. On the anniversary of the passing or the birthday of new life everyone can light a candle and remember their loved one or wish and be filled by the light of the candle. This can be a lasting, and comforting connection between you and another life!
Blowing bubbles- Blowing bubbles is always fun; watching them bounce around towards the sky and twist with the wind. It also requires you to exhale and breathe. This is a great way to release your feelings as well and just let go. Imagine the spectacular sight of a countless number of bubbles floating away into the sky with a piece of every person that had gathered together! Here is a quick homemade recipe.
Origami Whales- Make your own pod of whales. Click here for instructions. Bring awareness to these gentle giants instead of harming them with balloons. Here is an example of how children can come together and make a difference.
Colored lights- Colored lights catch attentions during parties, holidays, and even on certain issues! It can replace a normal white light year-round at a business or be used temporarily on special days. Here is a great example of how colored lights can be used to bring awareness to an issue.
Races, walks and organized games- Engaging your audience is a key to a successful event. Fundraisers and awareness events can have racers, walkers or players donate to participate, all while attracting positive attention to the issue and having fun!
Marches- It is hard to pass by a large organized group of people and not wonder what brought them together that day. Marches are a great way to bring attention to a pressing issue or honorable individual from local people to large media networks!
Book and food drives- There are many items that can be collected by holding a drive like books, nonperishable food, art supplies, shoes, clothes, etc. All of the items gathered can be used to directly help provide to others in need and spread awareness at the same time.
Professional Dove Release Services - There are reputable facilities around the world that offer the release of doves. These birds are trained to return to the facility; no matter where the birds are released they will fly back home. No harm is done to the birds or their wild relatives. For more information on this, click here or here. It is extremely important to only use a professional dove release service.
Shaved heads- This look can bring a lot of attention when a group of people are willing to shave their heads for a cause or person. This alternative is used at outreach events and memorials and can catch on fast with participants. The press is sure to pick up on the unusual look that so many people choose to wear. Here is a great example of a successful head-shaving campaign.