I recently had the chance to have a brief chat with Santa Claus at my local mall. (I realize that most mall Santas are actually Santa’s helpers and not the real one, but not in my mall. This guy is the real thing! He stays at Santa’s Village in Bracebridge in the off-season.) I asked him how climate change was affecting everyone at the North Pole. How were he and Mrs. Claus coping? What impact was it having on the reindeer? Or the elves?
His responses were blunt and to the point. He pointed out that the melting ice cap was definitely affecting the workshop, and that they’re looking at moving sometime in the next few decades. In Santa’s words:
We can’t have the ice cap melt away completely because our workshop doesn’t float. My magic only goes so far. You think Miami real estate is in trouble? Scientists are telling me our home will likely sink to the bottom of the Arctic Ocean before the end of this century.
I asked him where he thought he could relocate. He’s been giving some consideration to Antarctica because everyone is already used to the cold, but thought maybe they should take the opportunity to reinvent themselves completely.
Maybe we should move to the Sahara Desert. It’s only getting bigger so there’s no fear the desert will ever disappear. Perhaps instead of a sleigh and reindeer, I’ll use a dune buggy and camels!
As he said that, he winked and laid a finger aside of his nose, so I thought he might be joking. But he pointed out the elves are already getting used to the warmer climate but they don’t like the slush they have to trudge through as the surface ice melts. Their toboggan test track has flooded most years in recent memory, and the reindeer have had to learn how to swim.
I asked Santa what he was doing to try to combat climate change. He mentioned he’s been an environmentalist far longer than most people realize. Through a combination of solar (six months out of the year), wind, excellent battery storage, and a little elven magic, there are no fossil fuels used to heat the workshop. And since the reindeer are his only means of transportation, that means there are no fossil fuel emissions there either. (He did point out that Blitzen’s been known to release more than his fear share of emissions all on his own, but that has nothing to do with transportation. Turns out Santa purchases carbon offsets to cover that little issue, too!)
I encouraged Santa to join me and get the message out. He said he’s already been doing that, but he thinks it’s falling on deaf ears.
For years I was giving the Koch brothers lumps of coal in their stockings, but it turns out they considered them to be gifts and were happy about it.
For so many years politicians have been ignoring climate change and Santa’s naughty list was getting longer. But he pointed out that because of this year’s relative success at COP 21 in Paris, he would be making more trips to politicians’ houses this year than he has in a long time. (He even said he was going to be visiting the Canadian Prime Minister!)
Maybe my words aren’t so important but hopefully Saint Nick’s will have some impact. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and hope that Santa doesn’t put you on the naughty list.