Local Girl Scout Floats Project to Deflate Use of Mylar Balloons
Source: Girl Scout Troop 50886
San Marcos High School junior Dorienne Larbig is raising awareness in the community, one Mylar balloon at a time.
Larbig, a 16-year-old Girl Scout Ambassador, recently launched her Girl Scout Gold Award Community Service Project called MylarMistake, an educational website and social media campaign to tell the community to reduce the use of Mylar balloons, as the balloons are detrimental to the local ocean environment and marine life.
Larbig created MylarMistake.com to promote reducing or repurposing the use of Mylar. When community members are able to gather together again, Larbig hopes to present her information and personal story at community events and summer camps using her motto Party’s Over, Mylar!
Due to COVID-19, she is pivoting her project to be based mostly online.
“Though Mylar balloons are colorful and can lift the spirits of any event, single-use Mylar balloons are horribly destructive to the environment,” Larbig said. “Mylar is virtually non-recyclable, and it is one of the top three types of litter removed from the Santa Barbara Channel. It is deadly to marine life and compounds the amount of debris in our local ocean and landfill.”
A Santa Barbara Beach lifeguard and competitive swimmer, Larbig said her idea for change began on a kayak excursion to Anacapa Island.
Shocked to witness how many Mylar balloons were fished out of the ocean by the guide during her trip, she realized it wasn’t well-known that single-use Mylar balloons blown from the Santa Barbara mainland often end up in the Santa Barbara Channel.
“This project is incredibly important,” said Penny Owens from Santa Barbara Channelkeeper. “I am thrilled to partner with Dorienne to guide her passion, connect with the community, and take action to make a difference to keep the ocean clean and safe for all.”
The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest achievement a Girl Scout can earn. The Gold Award is a personal challenge to demonstrate leadership and create a sustainable change to meet a community need. The project includes building a team of community members and field experts to gain real-world experience.
Larbig’s advisory committee includes Owens; Kathi King from the Community Environmental Council; Sam Macks of the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum Sea Center; and Carson Cantrell from Can-If Marketing.
“The Santa Barbara beaches and ocean bind our community together. It’s very special,” Larbig said.
“These balloons tear apart our unique ecosystem. So for your next event, think twice before you buy them.”
Dorienne Larbig is a member of Girl Scout Troop 50886 in Santa Barbara, CA. She is a Community Service Gold Award Candidate for the Girl Scouts of the California Central Coast (GSCCC). For more information, please contact [email protected] or visit our website at mylarmistake.com.