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An Environmental Dilemma: Fireworks

An Environmental Dilemma: Fireworks

By Jules Amorosi, age 17

I have always cared about the environment. I do what I can to lower my impact on climate change, pollution, and water usage. I make an effort to carpool. I avoid single-use plastics. I try to take shorter showers. And I get upset when I read about the huge issues facing our environment today.

Over the summer, my environmental awareness increased drastically. My mind continued to be clouded with environmental thoughts and worries while I was on a trip to the beach. On the fourth of July, a few friends and I walked down to the bay to watch the annual fireworks show. We brought a picnic blanket and found a spot in the middle of the grassy field. The chatter and excitement of all the people surrounding us filled the vast space and heightened my anticipation for the show. 

My friends and I waited among the crowd for the show to begin. I imagined how the town had likely prepped for weeks for this spectacle, saving up money and hiring professionals to facilitate the show. It lasted for half an hour and filled the sky with sparkling lights and bright colors. As I heard the first boom I looked up at the sky, inevitably filled with anticipation for the new surprises this year would bring. The bursts of colors followed one after the other, lighting up the smiling faces around me. But among this beauty was something quite the opposite. Clouds of dark smoke rose in the air as ashes fell back down into the water.

It is certainly no shock that fireworks shows release a ton of toxic chemicals into the sky.  However, as I watched the show, I found myself solely thinking about the horrible air pollution that came from this so-called celebration. It seemed rather disgraceful that this celebration took form in the pollution of the very planet we live on. It seemed unfair that having a good time had to come at the expense of the environment. Disgusted, I looked down from the sky. But what I saw was entirely the opposite of what I was feeling. In front of me, a young girl smiled and laughed as she pointed at the sky. This may have been the first show she had ever seen and she was certainly ecstatic. She urged her parents to appreciate the beauty as much as she did. She jumped up and down as if she simply could not contain the happiness that the fireworks brought her.

I looked beyond this girl and saw whole families watching together. Perhaps this very event brought them together each year. I glanced over at my friends, who were smiling as they admired the same sky as the young girl. I realized that this show brought so much joy to many people. But at what cost? Was it worth the immense pollution it and many others across the nation created? Here is but one environmental dilemma.

Then, I found drone light shows, an alternative to fireworks where drones create art in the sky through synchronized movements. This more sustainable option can be just as beautiful as fireworks without the consequence of air pollution.

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fireworks, environment, drone light shows


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