In typical Greenpeace fashion, we crashed this past weekend's Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta with our new Earth-shaped hot air balloon.
Greenpeace used the balloon all weekend to deliver a strong message on global warming to participants in New Mexico's most recognized event, the Balloon Fiesta. Our message, which was reinforced by activists on the ground, is that people across the country are aware of how serious global warming is and are taking action to combat it while our leaders have been woefully slow to act. It's high time that Congress did their part by passing science-based legislation to tackle the enormity of the global climate crisis we are facing.From Greenpeace field organizer Kristin Wheeler: "The globe balloon is the perfect vehicle to illustrate how the entire world is being impacted by Congress's leadership failure on global warming. "While people here in New Mexico and across the country have already taken steps in their own lives to help, by driving less, using more efficient appliances, and changing their lightbulbs, Congress refuses to make the big changes needed to solve the problem."
Balloon Fiesta controversy
Though our new Earth balloon is being deployed to carry its message to attendees at Albuquerque's Balloon Fiesta, it is not an officially registered participant. We will be launching the balloon on the outskirts of the festival because festival organizers denied our entry.
There was a bit of controversy around the decision not to let our balloon into the event. Balloon Fiesta organizers claimed we missed the deadline to enter our balloon, but that simply was not the case. The deadline was extended to attract greater participation, and we met that deadline. We can't say whether or not the festival organizers wanted to censor our message by denying our balloon's entry, but we can say that if that was their intent, it will not work.
Greenpeace's hot air balloon history
This is not the first time Greenpeace has used an Earth balloon to get our message out to the American public. Our first Earth baloon, which has since been retired, was launched at the 1997 G-8 summit in Denver, CO to demand our world leaders "Save the Climate," and again at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, UT calling for "Clean Energy Now" and solutions to "Stop Global Warming."
In 1982 we launched the Trinity, a Greenpeace hot air balloon that has had a long and storied international career, near the entrance to a nuclear test site in Nevada bearing the message "Stop Nuclear Tests." In 1987, a massive anti-nuclear protest was organized at the same testing grounds, and this time we flew the Trinity directly into the test site in an attempt to prevent a nuclear detonation from occurring. Several Greenpeace activists also walked onto the site in support of the balloon, but it turned out the blast had secretly taken place two days before in order to avoid just such a disruption.
The Trinity has been flown outside of the US during several noteworthy direct communication actions. One such occasion, in 1983, resulted in East German authorities impounding the balloon after it was flown over the Berlin Wall as a plea for peace and disarmament. The East Germans did not release the balloon until 1985
Naming the balloon
Every vessel in the sky needs a name. The new Greenpeace balloon is no different. We'll be going to our activists for help naming this. Go to greenpeace.org to sign up!