Revelers celebrating last week’s summer solstice in Poznan, Poland created a beautiful sight with the release of more than 11,000 paper lanterns into the evening sky. The scene was reminiscent of a moment from Disney’s animated film “Tangled” when Rapunzel discovers true love. If you’re the parent of a 2.5 year old like me, you’ve likely seen it. 10-40 times. But I digress…
Of course, all of those pretty lanterns eventually have to come down, leading to potentially messy outcomes. Germany, Australia, and parts of New Zealand have banned them over the fear of sparking wildfires. The UK Express reports that cows, sheep and horses have “suffered horrendous injuries after eating the lanterns’ wire frame and a dozen animals have been killed.”
I did find one version claiming to be eco-friendly and 100% biodegradable (with no metal parts) but as one farmer said, even alternatives can be harmful.
“There’s talk of ‘eco-friendly’ versions but all they do is replace the wire with bamboo,” said a UK farmer, “and that’s just as bad. Bamboo is as sharp as a piece of metal and it takes 35 years to decompose.”
So, now you know. Paper lanterns look amazing, but the world is better off with some virtual representations. May I recommend “Tangled”?