There is a long list of things you can do to memorialize the beautiful and innocent children and school staff that were killed at Sandy Hook last week, but balloon releases should not be one of them. I see that people throughout the country are organizing balloon releases. If you are one of them, please reconsider. Balloons are overly festive and feel disrespectful to the victims. I live about ten miles from where this tragedy took place, and you should know that here in Connecticut we had a successful movement in the 1990's to ban such releases. Elementary school classrooms, like one in nearby Orange, CT, helped to secure the new law (§26-25c). Please honor those efforts. Instead, people are being asked to put a candle at the end of your driveway on Christmas Eve (use common sense...if there is a risk of fire in your area, then don't).
Fallen latex balloon on the trail
Released balloons come down as litter and sometimes kill wildlife, especially in oceans and along the shoreline. I have found many, many balloons deep in the forest and along the trails. Latex balloons are not environmentally friendly. The people who sell them say they are, but they are not. They do eventually biodegrade, but it takes a long time. In the meantime, popped latex balloons that land in the ocean are confused for jellyfish and ingested by turtles and other wildlife. The attached string takes much longer and has been known to strangle wildlife, including osprey chicks. Mylar balloons don't seem to degrade at all.
For more information about balloon releases, please visit Balloonsblow.org. Thank you.