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  • Gabriel Hwang

Why Santa is a True Environmentalist

Santa Claus. Father Christmas. So many names for the jolly man from the North Pole. He’s a great guy who works year-round, making Christmas presents. He keeps an extensive list of who's naughty and who’s nice, giving the best gifts to the nice kids, thereby upholding a pillar of our society. His whole life's work is to make children happy. On Christmas Eve, he flies around the world in his reindeer-pulled sleigh full of toys. He slides down the chimney, leaving gifts and enjoying what was left out for him. But what if I told you there was more to him than meets the eye that makes him such a good person? 

Santa is the ultimate environmentalist. He and his elves happily spend the whole year producing presents in Santa’s workshop. Compare this to a factory with workers toiling away day-in and day-out. Also, toy companies can use 90,000 tons of plastic each year, emitting 123 tons of carbon annually. Not only are the elves treated much better, but they also have an unbelievable net-zero carbon footprint.

Another reason why Santa’s elves are so green is because they are unaffected by the extreme temperatures of the North Pole. As a result, they don’t need to burn any fossil fuels for heating. Parents would love to have an elf-child because they would never complain about the temperature. Elves also won’t need to drive to work because their homes are right next to Sant’s workshop. An unexpected benefit is that they are short, too, so they take up less space than a person, meaning they are more space efficient, which will reduce overall fossil fuel use.

On Christmas Eve, Santa flies around the world in a sleigh pulled by reindeer. He moves at the speed of light to deliver presents worldwide. There are about 2.2 billion children in the world. If 90% of them made the nice list, and 90% of those children asked Santa for presents, then Santa has to deliver presents to about 1.8 billion children. Assuming the average size of a gift is a cubic foot, the presents take up 1.8 billion cubic feet. 

Compare this to our delivery systems. Delivery trucks have about 900 cubic feet of storage, and the total amount of greenhouse gasses emitted by each truck is excessively high. Santa’s reindeer sleigh, on the other hand, is quick, efficient, and has no carbon footprint. Last time I checked, reindeer do not emit greenhouse gasses (except in the form of flatulence, which remains negligible compared to what cows emit). Props to the reindeer for being strong enough to carry the immense weight of all the gifts throughout the night!

Another essential part of Santa’s job is giving the nice kids presents and the naughty ones coal. It’s an excellent, foolproof way to reduce the burning of coal. Burning coal heavily impacts air quality and human health, emitting harmful pollutants. Soot pollution, caused by the coal, along with the burning it for power, causes over 350,000 deaths a year through cancers and diseases spread by its pollutants. By giving the kids coal, it won’t be burned and emit pollutants. So if you didn’t get a present because you were on the naughty list, remember that you are part of the solution.

Another crucial part of Santa is the milk and cookies he eats. It is safe to assume that the milk and cookies he gets from the 1.8 billion houses he visits are enough to last him a whole year. That’s a vegetarian diet, which can decrease one’s carbon footprint by over 50 percent. It’s the same as driving 1,300 miles less per year. Also, Santa is living every kid’s dream, eating cookies for dinner.

Why does this all matter and prove that Santa is the ultimate environmentalist? The average carbon footprint in the country with the lowest carbon footprint is 0.45 tons. Santa’s is close to 0. Like the rest of us, he is directly affected by global warming, but even more so because he lives at the North Pole. Over the past years, there has been a steep decline in the amount and thickness of Arctic sea ice, which makes up the North Pole. This is why he lives as environmentally cleanly as he does. If all his ice melts away, he will have no home. If Santa loses his home, 1.8 billion kids would be devastated. 

So, the next time you see Santa, remember that he is not only the jolly person who brings joy and happiness to kids worldwide, but also the ultimate environmentalist who can balance his workload while being the most environmentally friendly person in the world. Make sure to thank him this December!


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