Balloons for All!


So what does one use helium for besides balloons? -magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)      -nuclear reactors -liquid fuel rockets & other uses.

Did you know that there is a global helium shortage? Helium comes from the decay of uranium and can easily escape into the atmosphere.

Most helium is found in the western United States (it is a byproduct of oil and gas extraction). The United States actually has a Federal Helium Program administered by the Bureau of Land Management in Amarillo, TX. However, a large reserve of helium was recently discovered in the Rift Valley of Tanzania using technology that is similar to what is used in oil and gas exploration. Researchers believe they can use the same technology to find other helium reserves around the world.

This discovery will help in needed medical diagnostics around the world through MRIs (where they are available) as well as other research applications and, yes, balloons. However, the Rift Valley is the center of many land disputes between business and indigenous people (the Maasai are one of them). Violence against indigenous people has occurred in this area and with this new discovery the potential for increased conflict is high.  The discovery of resources can be a blessing and a curse.

About the Illustration Acrylic inks and watercolor pastel crayons. The drawing and title is me being sarcastic. I actually dislike helium-filled balloons. I will tell you why shortly…





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