We are very grateful that Santa had time to chat for a few minutes, even though December is his busy season. I was able to ask him some hard-hitting questions in honor of my good friend Riley, who is five this year and who has high expectations with regard to adults’ green behavior. The interview took place at Sustainability HQ (aka a dog-infested, book-cluttered loft in beautiful downtown Los Angeles.)
DR SCHWEITZER: So, Santa, how do you respond to critics who say that you encourage cupidity and overconsumption?
SANTA: Well, now, ho ho ho, cupidity, that’s something you have to take up with Valentine’s Day. However, one thing I’d need to take a stand on: giving gifts to each other at Christmas does not have to be over-the-top. My elves and I have a lot to do, and we try not give too much to any one child. It really is better to give than to receive, and giving time matters a great deal. It is the most limited commodity any one person has.
But families have to do their part and teach kids about giving because giving is really fun–that’s why I roll the way I do. As you know, it’s part of the Santa rules that I never bring children anything their parents don’t approve of. And it makes us North Pole denizens especially happy when people give to children who need help, all year around.
Then there are easy things you can do to avoid waste at Christmas. You can recycle wrapping paper from year to year, or you can make your own from recycled paper. It’s really fun.
DR SCHWEITZER: What about critics who argue that you encourage obesity?
SANTA: Well, now, I’ve been around a long time—even longer than you, Dr. S—and it seems to me that the problems with weight have been pretty recent compared to me. Some indulgence is the spirit of the season. Overindulgence is not a good idea, no matter what the season. BTW, I hear that new Weight Watchers points system is the shizzle.
Can you please pass me another piece of that fudge you have there?
DR SCHWEITZER: Oh yeah? What about your critics that say you steal the limelight away from Christ?
SANTA: It would take somebody a great deal more powerful than me to do that.
I think about it this way: I am the spirit of generosity and hospitality. Christ is the embodiment of sacrifice. If people can’t see the connections between these things, then they aren’t thinking terribly hard (and they’ve forgotten my origins in philanthropy and sacrifice.)
DR SCHWEITZER: What about charges that your trip around the world is scientifically impossible and that it’s all a myth?
SANTA: Just because the rest of you haven’t figured out how to move in and out of the space-time continuum doesn’t mean that we at North Pole haven’t figured it out. It’s just one of those innovations that hasn’t caught on, like my zero-emissions flying reindeer and my hydrogen-powered, New Urbanist, vertical-farmed, mixed use settlement at the North Pole. You folks will catch up.
DR SCHWEITZER: Any final thoughts for our readers, Santa?
SANTA: Being green on Christmas is a great thing. But could you folks do me a favor and work on peace? A nice, long-lasting peace everywhere, for everybody? Then I’d feel a lot more comfortable sharing my space-time technology with you, and then I would have a lot more kids I could make happy.
And global warming is going to be a big problem for us at the poles. Could you guys get real about that, and soon?
[cell phone vibrates].
Gotta run–the Missis and I try to do a week at Cabo after the feast of St. Nicholas and before the big day.** Ciao!
There you have it, friends. Signing off from Sustainability HQ.
**Which as any sensible person will tell you is Christmas Eve.