Science | October 1, 2022 4:20 pm

Please Stop Destroying the Environment With Gender Reveal Parties

Central Brazil is the latest region to host a party gone wrong

The waterfall in question, Cachoeira Queima Pé.
The waterfall in question, Cachoeira Queima Pé.
Prefeitura Municipal de Tangará da Serra, CC BY-SA 4.0

If you’re an expectant parent, there are countless ways to celebrate the forthcoming birth of your child that don’t hold within them the potential to devastate large quantities of the land around you. And yet gender reveal parties still continue to hold an appeal for some — even though there are countless reasons why they’re a bad idea.

But there’s also a difference between holding a party where the hosts pass out some cake and holding one in which the health of guests — or the stability of the landscape — is put at risk. People have literally died as a result of gender reveal parties. Multiple people. The latest high-profile instance of a gender reveal party gone wrong comes to us from Brazil, where a family member of an expectant couple is now under investigation for the damage they may have done to a local waterway.

As The Washington Post reports, a relative of a couple based in central Brazil thought that it would be a fantastic idea to celebrate their child’s upcoming birth by dyeing a local waterfall blue. Here’s the problem with that: the waterfall in question, Cachoeira Queima-Pé, leads to a river which is an important source of water for a nearby city. A city which has, in recent years, had to deal with droughts.

Not surprisingly, this is why pouring massive amounts of dye into bodies of water is frowned upon — and why this was a violation of Brazil’s environmental laws. According to the article, the relative of the expectant couple who decided to release coloring into the waterfall is now under investigation.

So far, the government’s investigation suggests that the dye has had little to no effect on the waterway and the creatures living there — but it’s not hard to imagine a situation where things turned out differently, and another one of these parties ended in tragedy.