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Save the reindeer

As I was putting my children’s letter to Santa Claus into the freezer (because we all know that ensures express delivery to the North Pole), a thought came to mind: Forget save the polar bears, let’s save Santa and his reindeer.

The North Pole receives over 6 million letters to Santa every year. Recently the National Snow and Ice Data Center said that there is a 50-50 chance that the already thin ice on the North Pole will briefly melt away this year as a result of global warming. What will we tell our grandchildren and great grandchildren if we do not address global warming? Santa moved his headquarters because global warming ruined his village?

I have made an effort this year to lower my family’s emissions. The six of us have stopped using water bottles, I wash all our clothes in cold water, and insist on unplugging gadgets and chargers that aren’t in use (or else they get taken away). I use efficiency tools like Smart Strips, shower timers, and a programmable thermostat. Then December rolls around and my mind takes a back seat to my heart. Here is a sampling of the Christmas wish lists from my four children, ranging from 6 to 12 years old:

* Xbox
* Wii
* Wii Fit
* iPod
* Laptop
* Cell phone

Let’s flash back to my Christmas list in 1978 (yes, I am over forty):

* Barbie
* Cabbage Patch Doll
* Roller skates

Can you spot the difference?

For starters, the gifts of 2008 are much more expensive. A Barbie cost about $5 in 1978, while a Wii will run you about $250. And, of course, the carbon emissions created by playing with Barbie are zero. Based on sales for the last 6 months of over 10 million Wii consoles, the additional emissions are about 800,000 lbs of CO2 per week (assuming 4 hours of play per week).

So how do I help save Santa while still giving my children the Christmas they want? For starters, I have decided to include an earth-friendly item in all stockings: a reusable water bottle, shopping bag, reusable batteries, and a scan gauge for my husband. The letter to Santa should have been emailed (, a step that if we all took would save 6 million pieces of paper — and a lot of postage.

But, yes, I will still probably buy a Wii, iPod, or an Xbox to make this year the best ever for my children. I will also purchase a Smart Strip so at least it is not wasting energy while not in use.

How are you going to help save Santa this year?

Take the first step.

Start small. Be conscious of the impact your actions have on the environment and figure out what you can do to lessen the blow. Calculate, conserve, and offset.

For businesses, our Corporate Sustainability Plans can help you with your emission reduction goals.

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