Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I have to admit I am enjoying the Deer Run presence on Facebook. It's much more "instant." I can pop up a photo, or write a thought that's relatively random, yet something I think people would enjoy... and it barely requires a moment of my time.  Bliss!

Things get stale in my administrative world.  I do not have a secretary or assistant.  Oh, what would I give to be able to have that! It's not to be, at least for any time into the foreseeable future, so we'll all just have to put up with me and my poor time management.

I would like to talk about someone I recently met, someone who I consider in the "environmental warrior" category.  There is a gal named Danielle, who is a founder of a non-profit organization called "Balloons Blow."  They list their location as Jensen Beach, Florida. I'm not sure how I stumbled upon them, but it was I believe through Facebook.  What happened is I found them, and then began reading about them.  Their mission is to spread awareness about balloons as litter, as well as their profound negative effect on wildlife and the environment.

As I scrolled through their Facebook pages, I saw photo after photo after photo of a beautiful girl who is practically a mermaid, surrounded by trash and balloons.  Always counting and reporting on the number of balloons collected during each beach clean.  Trust me, there's A LOT of beach cleaning going on with Balloons Blow. Anyway, I read some of the posts, and looked at probably every photo.  I was moved enough to actually write to them, just to give a shout out from my little corner of the world and a big thank you to some kindred spirits.  You know, we clean beaches a lot here and its lonely.  It's dirty, its hot and sweaty work, its difficult, and at times very overwhelming.  I got a real shot in the arm learning about Balloons Blow. There is virtually nothing worse than seeing a beautiful creature foraging for food in natural habitat blighted by trash; eating trash, or worse becoming entangled in trash and then suffering horribly, usually dying a prolonged agonizing death. Balloons Blow wants to end this.

Hug hug, kiss, kiss.

Most people really don't think much of mass balloon releases, or even a child losing a grip on a single balloon in a mall parking lot.  In fact, balloon releases are a way that many people honor the loss or memory of a loved one, celebrate a wedding, birthday, or any other host of occasions.  But, stop and think please.  What goes up must come down.  And, where will it land?  Being that our planet is mostly water, odds are it will end up in a storm drain, a river, a pond, or an ocean. From there it will either be mistaken as food by something like a turtle (just make a visit to the Turtle Hospital in Marathon Florida if you'd like to see eyewitness proof of balloons pulled out of turtles), or they will eventually start to degrade after a very long time into smaller bits, which will be eaten by many animals and marine life. And, if that doesn't happen, the ribbon most likely will end up in the throat of a bird or marine mammal who has no gag reflect, and will choke to death.  Perhaps it will end up as an entanglement on a turtle. Turtles swim only forward, they cannot swim backwards, so any entanglement becomes tighter, and tighter, and tighter, with every stroke of the flipper.

Balloons should no longer be a socially accepted way to celebrate ANYTHING.  They are a scourge on this planet.  Not only that, balloon releases are actually illegal in some places, and that list is growing.

Anyway, one day as I was reading things on line, I learned that this beautiful mermaid named Danielle was going to be passing through the Keys.  I contacted her and said if she was in my area, please let me know because I would like to meet her and give her a "thank you" batch of the best organic vegan cupcakes she'd ever eat on the planet.

She accepted my invitation.

Danielle and a friend named Chris, rolled up to Deer Run not too long ago in an early 70s VW bus plastered with stickers.  Stickers everywhere!   And, the first thing I saw was a Hello Kitty sticker, which not for nothing, made me want to almost faint (yes, HUGE Hello Kitty fan in the house!)  Long story short, we met, I gave cupcakes, and I invited the 2 of them to relax and enjoy.  I had done a lengthy beach clean less than 24 hours prior to their arrival, and I hoped they'd find a way to relax, not collect trash.  That was not to be.

Oh yeah.... rocking the HK!

The Key deer came by to page homage.

The "official" shot which Danielle graciously agreed to pose for.
This is the face of an environmental warrior.

Although Danielle and her friend did relax and soak in the beauty of it all, they were gone for a long period of time collecting trash.  She sorted out the nature of the trash (i.e.: lobster trap necks, line, rope, and of course.... balloons) arranged it, and posed in pile after pile wherever she went in the Keys, including Big Pine, for photographs. Such a striking contrast... this beautiful mermaid sitting in the middle of ugly, harmful trash carelessly discarded.  In place, after place, after place.

Honestly I tried to just make sure they were comfortable, and not hover as they did their thing.  We didn't talk too much, but when we did, it was mostly about trash.  And, she said something to me that made me feel like sisters from a different mother when she said she cannot stop picking up trash, it is, she said "an obsession." Oh how we here at Deer Run understand.

We're tipping our hat big time to Balloons Blow.  Don't give up, too much is at stake.  We don't really have to tell you that, perhaps it's more to reassure ourselves.  The work is lonely, overwhelming and never ends. But we're reminded we're not alone in the struggle to leave things better than we found them.... to stop senseless, useless things like balloon releases.  To save the life of a turtle.  To insure that  there are still turtles for the next generation of mermaids to see.  Who can argue with that?

Balloons Blow can be found on Facebook, and also at  I highly recommend you check them out.  

1 comment:

  1. Such a wonderful time at your most awesome place! Can't wait to bring my sister, Chelsea :)