Drumming Instead!

Drumming Instead logo

Drumming Instead is a grassroots effort to encourage Drumming Instead of fireworks!

Drumming Instead on Facebook:

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This project is for people around the world.
In the US, we may be starting with the 4th of July, 2010,
but this is for any celebration that may, potentially, include fireworks.


Drumming instead

Drumming Instead is a grassroots project, which grew out of a concern for our world and its inhabitants, along with a desire to continue some form of celebration instead of fireworks.

Many of us have fond memories of our youth and being taken to watch fireworks, whether that be at special events or holiday celebrations. We may have similar memories that have continued well into adulthood.

With reports of the devastating results of human choices on our environment, it is very clear that we need to make far better choices from now on. One of those choices is to replace fireworks with drumming.

Fireworks utilize our natural resources, basically, for entertainment. This form of entertainment is a luxury we can no longer afford. In addition to using resources, the fireworks pollute the air, ground, and water. They also create noise pollution: they create unnaturally harsh explosive sounds, which frighten, even terrorize, wild and domestic animals. The highly sensitive hearing of non-human animals may be damaged by the explosive sounds. Firework debris, which ends up in our streams, lakes, and oceans, may be consumed by marine animals, which could result in sicness or death.

In addition, there are health concerns. There are often increases in reports of asthma attacks around the times of fireworks, not to mention the direct injuries, even deaths, caused by fireworks (there are thousands of fireworks-related injuries annually in the U.S.).

Fireworks are also responsible for the fire damage caused by the thousands of fires they cause annually.

Another serious side-effect of fireworks is the severe trauma they may cause to people, such as military veterans, who have Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The harsh sudden sounds of the fireworks, especially when unexpected, can be traumatizing.

As the dominant species on this planet, we humans have an inherent responsibility to make better choices for this world. We can no longer make selfish choices for our own entertainment at the expense of the planet and its inhabitants.

The tradition of fireworks actually began in China, where they would burn green bamboo at New Years. The crackling noise and exploding air pockets were believed to scare away evil spirits. Over time, this tradition evolved into the use of fireworks.

Our wish is to replace the tradition of fireworks (which many recognize as obsolete) with community drumming. This could be in the form of drumming circles or drumming parades/marches, etc. Families, neighborhoods, or entire cities can gather with their drumsfor special occasions. The drums could range from small bongo drums to large Taiko drums. Instead of just being observers, everyone present has the opportunity to be a participant. While our focus is drumming, other wooden percussion instruments could be used, such as wood blocks.

As an additional step toward being a good steward for the planet and its inhabitants, when purchasing a new drum or drum head, consider a synthetic drum head.

What can you do?

There are many things that you can do at various levels of commitment:

Together, we truly can make a difference!

Drumming Instead

Instead of just eliminating the fireworks, drumming offers a wonderful alternative!

Positive aspects of drumming:

  • Participants enjoy the activity and exercise, as well as the community aspects of the shared experience, instead of just being an observer, such as with firework displays.
  • Drummers and those listening and watching enjoy a variety of rhythms and beats.
  • Participants can also dance to the rhythms.
  • Drumming and dancing are good exercise.
  • Drumming will not pollute like fireworks do.
  • Most world cultures have a history of some form of drumming.
  • Other than the initial production of the drum, natural resources are not needed for the drumming events, as they are for fireworks production.
  • The drumming sounds are far more natural and do not cause the same noise pollution that fireworks do.
  • Perhaps the drumming sounds will also scare away evil spirits!

excerpts from: Are fireworks bad for the environment?

Fourth of July fireworks unleash a shower of toxins into the soil and water, and scientists are only beginning to figure out what that means for human health.

By Russell McLendon
Tue, Jun 30 2009

In addition to gunpowder, fireworks are packed with heavy metals and other toxins that produce their sparkling shower of colors. Like perchlorates, the exact effect of fireworks' heavy-metal fallout is still mainly a mystery, but scientists do know that the metals themselves can wreak havoc in the human body.

• Strontium:  radioactive strontium has a half-life of 29 years.

Radioactive strontium can damage bone marrow, cause anemia and prevent blood from clotting correctly, and lab studies have shown it can lead to birth defects in animals. Stable strontium is mainly a threat to children because it can impair their bone growth. 

• Aluminum: People and animals exposed to large amounts of aluminum have performed poorly on mental and physical tests, and some studies suggest aluminum exposure may lead to Alzheimer's disease, although that connection has yet to be proven.

• Copper: These aren't very toxic on their own, but the copper jump-starts the formation of dioxins when perchlorates in the fireworks burn.

• Barium:  Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, breathing trouble, changes in blood pressure, numbness around the face, general muscle weakness and cramps. High levels of barium exposure can lead to changes in heart rhythm, paralysis or death.

• Rubidium

• Cadmium: this mineral is also a known human carcinogen.

Types of drums (from Wikipedia):

Bass drums
Bongo drums
Cocktail drum

Dong Son drum
Drum kit
Ewe Drums
Goblet drum
Hand drum
Log drum
Side drum (Marching snare drum)
Slit drum
Snare drum
Steelpan (Steel drum)
Talking drum
Tenor drums
Tom-tom drum

excerpts from the U.S. Fire Administration:

Volume 1, Issue 7
January 2001 (Rev. December 2001)

The Dangers of Fireworks


  • Fireworks were the cause of 13 fatalities, 8,500 injuries, 7,000 fires, and $40 million in property loss in 1998.
  • State laws regulating the sale of fireworks have a direct impact on the incidence of loss. More stringent laws have been responsible for a decrease in injuries in the last decade—from a high of 12,100 in 1990 to a low of 7,800 in 1996.
  • 70-75% of fireworks injuries occur during a 30-day period (June 23-July 23). In addition to Independence Day, other peak periods for injuries are New Year’s Eve and other holidays.
  • 45% of fireworks injuries are to children under the age of 15. Males are three times more likely than females to be injured.

* * * * *

In addition to civilian injuries, fireworks fires are also deadly to firefighters. For
example, in separate 1998 incidents in Alabama and Oklahoma, two firefighters were
killed as a result of fires caused by fireworks.13

Drumworks Instead

Drumworks instead

excerpt from the U.S. Fire Administration:


Year Estimated Fireworks-

Related Injuries

Fireworks Injury




excerpt from: Wild Birds Fireworks Safety Tips

By Melissa Mayntz, About.com Guide

If live fireworks come into contact with birds they can cause severe burns and injuries to a bird’s plumage, limbs, eyes and skin. The chemicals used in fireworks, including combustible powders and toxic inks, can also cause gastrointestinal distress if they are ingested, even in small quantities. The loud concussions made by personal fireworks can damage birds’ sensitive hearing or may cause enough emotional and psychological stress to drive birds away from nests

excerpt from:

The Dangers of Fireworks [North Yorkshire, UK]

Sadly on Saturday 29th October 2005 one of our adopted dogs Bridget tragically lost her life due to fireworks.

Whilst out walking fireworks were let off near to them, Bridget was so frightened she broke loose from her owner and started running. After 3 hours of searching for her, they found her on a dual carriageway after being hit by a car.

excerpts from: Fireworks Safety and Loud Noise Phobias

As many pet owners know, fireworks and thunder storms can cause a great deal of stress for some animals. Commonly seen signs include:

  • Shaking, trembling
  • Excessive drooling
  • Barking, howling
  • Trying to hide or get into / out of the house, fence, or other enclosure
  • Refusing to eat food
  • Some animals may loose bladder or bowel control or experience temporary diarrhoea from prolonged stress
Drum instead

excerpt from:


Pets are run over by vehicles while running panic stricken in the streets.  Wild animals and birds are often forgotten in our primary concern for our pets.  Many of these animals hunt at night and can become disorientated by the noise and flashes. 

drums instead

excerpt from: Fireworks and Animals

A survey of Scottish vets in 2001

The Scottish SPCA has voiced its concern to politicians and has conducted a media campaign to raise awareness of these problems with the general public.  To get a better picture of the extent of the problem throughout the country, the Society conducted a survey of 193 vets across Scotland asking them about their experiences with fireworks. This accounts for 60% of veterinary practices in Scotland.  This survey has established a clearer picture of the animal welfare implications of firework use.

excerpt from: Animals and Fireworks

  • Others again grab objects thrown towards them with their mouth imagining they were toys, with the effect that they explode in their mouth;
  • Fireworks can release heaviest health damage to animals up to shock conditions with death sequences. 
  • Birds can lose orientation for quite some time because of the unexpected glare of fireworks rockets.

excerpt from: Are fireworks bad for the environment?

What we do know is that, although they're fleeting and infrequent, fireworks shows spray out a toxic concoction that rains down quietly into lakes, rivers and bays throughout the country.

excerpts from: Fireworks Threaten Animals

Fireworks generate a noise level higher than the noise from gunshots (140 decibels) and low-level flying jets (100 decibels). Irreversible ear damage, such as tinnitus and loss of hearing in humans starts at the 80-decibel range.

In 1996, research demonstrated that hatchling and juvenile black ducks at a site of overflights in Piney Island, N.C., grew slower and had less body weight than black ducks living in low-noise areas. 

Dogs, cats, and other companion animals don't understand that the terrifying loud bangs are a celebration.  One can only imagine what they think, given how much more sensitive their hearing is than ours.  Humane societies across North America report that after firework displays they are swamped with calls about lost dogs and cats.  Dogs are brought to shelters with paws bloody from running or torn skin from tearing through a backyard wooden fence or, worse, crippled from being hit by a car.

excerpts from: DANGERS & EFFECTS
Points to ponder before supporting the fireworks industry

  • People get killed manufacturing fireworks: The mortality rate of gunpowder explosion burns in factory accidents is high
  • Child labour is still used in the manufacture of fireworks (India and China)
  • Irresponsible and criminal use of fireworks poses a danger to both the people using them and innocent members of the public
  • Firecrackers (25%), rockets (21%), and sparklers (11%) accounted for most of the injuries seen in emergency departments during 2001 (Greene 2002)
  • Fireworks explosions can cause tinnitus and even deafness
  • Bottle rockets are the single greatest cause of eye injuries requiring hospitalization
  • The ears of most animals are considerably more sensitive than the human ear and fireworks can permanently affect their acute sense of hearing
  • Animals fleeing from fireworks often get lost or killed.  Dogs are prone to being hit by cars and birds are prone to breaking their necks by flying into buildings
  • Most birds fly away in fright and nesting mothers endanger the well-being of nestlings when they sometimes cannot find their own nest upon return
  • Laying hens show extremely low egg production the day after fireworks and the eggs are often malformed (Dr. Ian Duncan, an ethologist at the University of Guelph, Ontario)
  • Fish ingest the debris and die, sometimes even causing the deaths of scavenging animals that eat them
  • After fireworks, wildlife rehabilitators experience an increase in orphaned birds, squirrels, and other small mammals.
  • Even butterflies are at direct risk of becoming disoriented, injured, and killed.
  • The explosion of fireworks releases poisonous chemicals and particle-laden smoke, contaminating our natural environment
  • Fireworks damage the Ozone layer
Drumming instead

excerpts from: PTSD nightmare: July Fourth firework

July 3, 2013

While millions of Americans joyfully celebrate the Fourth of July with backyard barbeques and fireworks, military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder may choose to avoid the celebrations.

The fireworks can trigger severe anxiety and panic attacks in those suffering from PTSD, causing flashbacks to times of war, the US Department of Veteran Affairs said in a news release.

“It’s upsetting to most veterans with PTSD. It’s something they try to avoid,” Dr. Jeffrey Fine, director of one of the department’s PTSD programs, said in the release. As a result, some veterans choose to stay home or celebrate America’s day of independence in a quiet area.

excerpts from: Fireworks!! foe, not fun for veterans with PTSD

By Celeste Monforton, DrPH, MPH of George Washington University School of Public Health & Health Services
July 4, 2013

Is it unpatriotic to dread the Fourth of July?   I wonder if some U.S. veterans do, in fact dread Independence Day because of the bottle rockets, shot missiles and other fireworks set off to mark the occasion.

NBC News contributor Bill Briggs wrote last year about Iraq War veteran Pete Chinnici, 26, who is “yanked backward in time to an unfriendly, unpredictable, violent land,” when neighborhood kids play with firecrackers.  Briggs quotes Dr. John Hart of the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas:

“Fireworks hit right in the heart of these causes [PTSD triggers.]  Here’s an explosive-looking thing and a loud noise.  What they’ll feel when they hear or see fireworks is mostly fear, a sense of threat as they did during combat when the IED went off or when the Humvee blew up."

excerpts from: Heartbeat of Mother Earth

By The Leader-Post (Regina)
September 11, 2007

Where this project began: Alternatives to a total ban on fireworks (1999): See quote by Jeff Rogers in section "Consideration of alternatives"

Another worthy cause: Balloons Blow... Don't let them go! (balloonsblow.org)

Looking to purchase a drum??? Remo Djembe Fiberskyn® Drums on Amazon.com

Contact: info - at - drumminginstead.org

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