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Batya Bauman: Calls for eliminating fireworks


Friday, May 19, 2017
Calls for eliminating fireworks displays

The times they are a-changing and because the consequences of some of our actions are becoming increasingly threatening to the sustainability of life on Earth, we need a more thoughtful and critical examination of how our human activities are impacting our livable environment.

We should be giving serious thought to abandoning those unnecessary activities that we have enjoyed for generations and are harming our environment and causing suffering to many humans and nonhumans. Fireworks harm our planet and cause suffering.

The shooting of explosive materials into the night skies makes for amazing displays of color which we find awesome and beautiful.

But fireworks displays are an environmental disaster. The chemicals released into the atmosphere — lithium, dioxins, magnesium, titanium, aluminum, sodium chloride, boric acid, rubidium, potassium, radioactive barium — not only pollute the air, but leave toxic residues in the soil and on crops and in the waters, causing health problems for humans and animals, and especially to birds and other wildlife.

The gunpowder itself spews into the atmosphere potassium carbonate and potassium sulphate and sulphide along with harmful levels of fine particulates which cause asthma and other respiratory problems, as well as cancer.

Returning veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress are affected by fireworks, in some cases triggering memories that result in suicide.

Animals, both wild and domestic, suffer from fireworks. Birds often leave their nests and young, flying off in terror, not to return. Dogs, terrorized, hide or run off into dangerous situations.

Forgoing the fireworks ritual is, after all, a small sacrifice, but one that would have large, significant and beneficial consequences. This is something we can do in these times of feeling helpless in the face of so many disasters that are not in our power to do something about. Forgoing fireworks displays is easier than stopping the building of a pipeline.

Please join me in asking the towns in our Valley to show respect for the Earth, for veterans, and for all life by joining with other communities that are taking action against fireworks displays.

Surely we can find a less harmful, more life-enhancing way to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Batya Bauman

Amherst