This Fourth of July, the skies of Laguna Beach carry sights of a revolution: 300 drones lit up the night, painting stars, stripes, and "U-S-A" in dazzling colors, all without a single firework. Fireworks have long been a hallmark of celebrations like Independence Day in the U.S. or New Year's Eve around the globe; yet, their pollution contaminate soil, water, and air for years and violent sounds regularly distress animals and wildlife. Studies in Europe have found fireworks to displace migratory birds long-term, as well as lead wild horses to injure themselves when fleeing from the noise. "At the end of the day, this comes down to protecting our environment, veterans and our wildlife," says Laguna Beach's Mayor Pro Tem Alex Rounaghi. With similar intentions, the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo replaced fireworks with a dazzling display of 1,820 dancing drones on opening day. Salt Lake City, Utah has organized laser light shows over fireworks since 2022. Canadian cities like Banff and Canmore now use low-altitude, special-effects pyrotechnics over fireworks. Collecchio, Italy plays silent fireworks, made with reduced flash powder. With more cities around the world joining this eco-friendly wave, can drones and laser shows be the future of celebrations?

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