Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Is Santa Claus Green?

I have three young children ages 2, 4 and 6 so Santa is very much a topic of discussion at my house this time of the year. My wife and I try to remind them that Christmas is about much more than Santa and what gifts they get, but nonetheless Santa still steals the show. With all of the talk about Santa I thought to myself, is Santa green? I say YES! Let's look at Santa Claus and his workshop as a business operation (Santa Inc.?) and examine what he does that could be considered sustainable.
  1. The Elves - Santa Inc. employs a workforce of elves to produce it's merchandise - toys. I think that it is safe to assume that all of these elves are local and probably walk, sled, skate or use some other form of non-motorized transportation to travel to work. It appears that the elves are happy at work so the work environment, benefits and pay must be good, all steps toward a sustainable business venture!
  2. The Workshop - Santa Inc. produces all of its toys in "the workshop". The toys are assembled by the elves, by hand which reduces the energy consumption of the process and it can be assumed that most or all of the materials are locally sourced.
  3. The Sleigh - Santa Inc. delivers all of its merchandise on a non-motorized sleigh. Propelled by only reindeer the sleigh doesn't use fossil fuels and emits no carbon emissions. Although the propulsion of the sleigh has long been a topic of scientific debate, I think that it is safe to say that Santa's sleigh is "green" transportation.
  4. The bag or sack of gifts - As the legend goes, on Christmas Eve Santa delivers toys to girls and boys around the world traveling on his sleigh. Santa carries the toys in a bag or sack rather than the traditional cardboard or plastic packagings saving tremendous amounts of resources and shipping weight.
  5. The chimney - Folklore tells us that traditionally Santa enters the home through the chimney. By using the chimney Santa Inc is encouraging homeowners to use alternative forms of heating the home which saves electricity, heating oil or other less sustainable energy sources.
  6. The North Pole - The north pole is widely viewed as a good indicator of climate change and is often one of the first places to be affected by increases in global temperature. Since Santa Inc. is located exclusively in the north pole it is a business that stands to be dramatically effected if global temperatures rise. That being the case I think that it is safe to assume that Santa is in favor of limits on carbon emissions - even if it's "just in case"!
So as you can see Santa Claus is green! And if Santa has gone green, shouldn't we all? I hope everyone has a safe and merry Christmas and holiday season.