Cut out the Fireworks

A symphony of sparks
echoes through the sky,
lighting up the night
with flaming buds
that hiss
and pop
and roar.
Blooming jewels
whose light and weight
lie heavily
beneath the fading glow
of altered, after thoughts.
Ejaculations of excess
whose stinging grind
lingers long beyond the
flashes of our narrow,
premature delights.

The New Year fireworks at Funchal, Madeira 2011. Taken from the roof of the Porto Santa Maria hotel (Image Credit: Ian Geoffrey Stimpson, via Flickr).

This poem is inspired by recent research, which has found that instead of using traditional fireworks, cleaner alternatives like drone and laser light shows should be used to prevent harm to wildlife, household pets, and the environment.

Fireworks are a popular form of entertainment around the world, but they have negative effects on wildlife, pets, and the environment. They create loud noise and bright lights that can cause distress to domestic animals and harm wildlife on a larger scale. Some big fireworks events also happen at times when animals are migrating or reproducing, which can have long-term effects on their populations. Firework residue also significantly contributes to the chemical pollution of soil, water, and air, further posing a threat to both animal and human health.

In this new study, researchers looked at the effects of firework displays at events like Diwali in India, the Fourth of July in the United States, and New Year’s Eve in Chile. They found that fireworks can harm birds, mice, sea lions, and other animals, and contribute to pollution, providing clear evidence that fireworks are very harmful to the environment across a variety of scales. For example, the heavy metals that are released during the explosions, work their way into soil, bacteria, and moss where they can then enter the food chain and negatively impact human health through bioaccumulation. The researchers conclude that using modern alternatives, like eco-friendly fireworks and reusable drone/laser lightshows, can be used instead for a safer and more sustainable way to preserve cultural traditions while reducing their negative impacts.

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