What is the obsession with balloons and mailboxes? Does anyone past the age of five still get excited about seeing their mailbox festooned with colorful objects for the 24 hours they actually stay inflated? I mean, just look at this – it’s depressing. And worse yet, these pieces of latex (or rubber or nylon) will surely end up in the shrubs or the woods in another few days. And then? Rainwater and wind will carry it into streams and rivers and through drains. And then? To the ocean, of course, as 80% of all plastic reaches the oceans via rivers and coastlines. In this case, we have both, as this particular mailbox is a mere 15 miles from the coast and in an area with lots of streams and wetlands. So, it is probably not going to take all that long for it to reach its final destination.

Many towns have banned single-use plastic bags for use in grocery stores. But all the other pieces of plastic hanging from this mailbox seemed to have escaped any kind of regulation. While we and others work on that, maybe, just maybe, we can show a little restraint and send a nice card made of recycled paper and non-toxic ink. Or better yet, forgo both and make a donation to any one of a number of great conservation organizations. I guarantee that one day your toddler will thank you for thinking more long-term than 24 hours.