Thursday, December 15, 2005
GLOBAL WARMING THREATENS SANTA CLAUS
Few are talking about, but the truth is out there.
Santa Claus is in deep do do.
As global warming melts his Arctic homes, Rudolph and his brother and sister reindeer are under threat, along with - polar bears, ice-dwelling seals and several forms of Arctic vegetation - not to mention the many indigenous human inhabitants of the area.
"We are already seeing signs of significant change in the Arctic with mountain glaciers retreating, snow cover disappearing, the Greenland ice sheet thinning and Arctic sea ice cover declining," said World Wildlife Fund climate campaigner Andrew Lee.
"All these changes tell us there is no time to lose - we need to take drastic action now to combat climate change."
Ethan Matsuda, 7, of Yorba Linda, California, is so worried about the future of Santa Claus, he’s written a book of fiction aimed at other kids warning of the situation.
It's called "The North Pole Is Sinking!"
Ethan has been reading about global warming and concerns that pollution and reckless use of energy is warming the Earth's atmosphere. And, since he has more brains then President Bush, he concluded world wide climate change is threatening the ice around the North Pole.
"There's a lot we need to do," Ethan says. "People should be thinking about Santa."
In Ethan’s story, Santa flies from the North Pole looking for help. Somewhere over Southern California, Santa and his reindeer hit a cloud of smog and crash onto the roof of a home occupied by a boy named Ethan.
The character -- who the real Ethan excitedly admits was inspired by him -- asks for help solving the problem from his teacher, "Mrs. Counts" -- named after his aunt Jackie Counts.
Ethan remembered reading about alternative energy sources and giant wind generators of Denmark in that month's National Geographic -- the one for adults.
So Ethan incorporated that into the story, too, having students write letters advocating the use of clean energy to "Mrs. President."
"That's because there's never been a woman president," Ethan explains. "And there should be."
Ethan is joined in his concern by scientists with the International Santa Impacts Taskforce (ISIT) who, as reported in the San Diego Earth Times and the North Pole Gazette, warn that the impacts of global warming are endangering Santa Claus, his elves, his reindeer and the entire operations at the North Pole. The Climate Risks and Impacts to Santa (CRIS) Report predicted that global warming trends will force changes in Santa's worldwide efforts.
The report relies on recent scientific studies that document significant reductions in the thickness and extent of North Pole sea ice and find that the Arctic is warming at least twice as fast as the rest of the globe.
The retreat and thinning of the sea ice means that Santa's home and sizable workshops at the North Pole sit on increasingly unstable and ever-thinning ice. Ultimately, global warming will force Santa to relocate.
In particular, the CRIS Report identifies a number of likely changes to Santa's operations:
• Loss of Santa's Reindeer. Higher temperatures will prohibit the use of cold-loving reindeer to pull Santa's sleigh and threaten this cold-adapted species with extinction. Although Santa says he will do everything in his power to save his friends, alternative proposals are being brought forward. The leading proposal for reindeer replacement is a team of eight "Christmas Camels," though due to regional sensitivities, Santa is also considering a mixed team including wildebeests, water buffaloes, llamas, yaks and kangaroos. A number of competing proposals have come from off-road motorcycle and Sport Utility Vehicle manufacturers. However, Santa is no dummy and he is not going for those proposals from the very people who are significant contributors to the destruction of not only his home, but his home planet, as well.
• Loss of Santa's Elves. A move from the North Pole is expected to create immigration problems and force a lowering in quality of life, as the elves seek to compete with local labor. Santa, a long time opponent of neo liberal policies and corporate globalization is doing all he can to alleviate any problems from his possible forced relocation or out sourcing. The White House, and its conservative base, however, have warned Santa and his Elves that they any violation of US immigration laws will be met with stiff penalties, jail time, and deportations.
• Christmas Carols Crossover. I'm Dreaming of a Light Christmas, Let it Flow, Let it Flow, Let it Flow, and Walking in a Summer Sunnyland are just a few titles hoping to adapt.
• Decreasing Use of Stockings. Due to increasing temperatures, fewer people will have large, heavy stockings and fireplaces. The Report predicts that children will substitute baseball caps and sandals and will hang the receptacle of their choice over air conditioning ducts and room air conditioners and from ceiling fans. In response to this situation Santa is advocating extensive research on low energy, no Freon air conditioning systems.
• Move to Virtual Christmas Trees. Higher temperatures are predicted to decrease Christmas Tree habitat and increase the number of tree fires, both indoors and out. An immediate solution may come in the form of virtual trees. Santa’s elves are working on the software right now. Santa has actually long discouraged the chopping down of trees for use as temporary Christmas decorations. However, Santa does recognize how many children just love those trees. That is just one of many reasons Santa has joined with the Rainforest Action Network and EarthFirst on a number of projects to save the worlds forests from destruction.
• Relocation of Santa's Workshops. The primary qualification for a new location is that it be remote and mysterious. Rumored possible locations include the Sahara Desert, Central Asia, the Australian Outback, Mount Everest, Siberia, a number of coral atolls (if there are any left), and the Great Plains. On a different front, Disney has proposed a joint venture with Santa, including an offer to construct Santa theme parks near major metropolitan areas world wide. That offer was promptly turned down by Santa who scoffed at the notion of joining with an international corporation in any venture whatsoever.
The CRIS Report predicts that before you know it the North Pole will be slushy to just a segment of the Arctic Ocean in summer months, with possible uneven settling or sinking of Santa's home and workshops. At some point, the report says, the North Pole will no longer provide a viable base of operations for Santa, forcing change on both Santa Claus and Christmas traditions worldwide.
In a recent interview Santa worried, "These forced changes will have severe impacts on my operations and may open the door to increased competition from Corporate network mascots. How would you like to receive your gifts from the Warner Christmas Frog?"
Asked to comment, a representative from a fossil fuel industry-backed lobbying group, the Coalition for the Ultimate Santa (CoalfortheUS), dismissed the impacts of both Santa and global warming.
Joined at a Press Conference today by President George Bush, CoalfortheUS representative E. Stooge stated, "It's time that children, scientists and environmentalists accept that both Santa Claus and human-caused global warming are fantasy. Rather than limiting our so-called greenhouse gas emissions, we must adapt the cultural identity of Santa and Christmas to these natural changes." In a related development, the coal industry kicked off a barrage of pre-holiday ads, pushing parents to purchase lumps of coal for their children. The industry asserts that giving young children coal for the holidays promotes more rapid maturation and earlier productivity.
People for Authentic Santas Everywhere, PEASE, a citizen's advocacy group working to support the traditional Santa via a grass roots "S.O.S. - Save Our Santa" campaign, stated, "If you need proof that industry is readying you for global warming-induced changes in Santa, watch this season's TV ads to see the corporate vision for the future: Santa in SUVs, Santa surrounded by fashion models, Santa in sunglasses, Santa using UPS, Santa on the internet. We can act now to curb global warming or we can lose the Santa we know and love."
Save Our Santa was set in motion by recent news reports about the impacts of global warming on the Arctic (North Pole) ice cap.
Scientists at the Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center in Norway found a 4.6 percent decline in ice extent and a 5.8 percent decline in actual ice area between 1978 and 1994. Further, scientists at the University of Washington, using data acquired by U.S. Navy submarines, discovered a "striking" reduction in the thickness of Arctic sea ice, including the ice under the North Pole, as compared with 20-40 years ago. The average draft of the sea ice (that is, its thickness from the ocean surface to the bottom of the ice pack) has declined on average by 4.3 feet (1.3 meters). This represents a reduction of about 40 percent as compared with the earlier period.
"The big melt has begun," Jennifer Morgan, director of the World Wildlife Fund's global climate change campaign, said in a statement. "Life on Earth will change beyond recognition with the loss of the ice sheet at the north pole and higher sea levels threatening major global cities such as London."
And what of Santa Claus?????
Sources: North Pole Gazette, Indianapolis Star, Earth Times (San Diego), Politics.com, IOL (London)