Santa's workshop photo by undeadbit via Flickr
Daily flights to see Santa Claus will now produce fewer emissions. Ho. Ho. Ho. No kidding. Isn't that a nice gift to the planet? A total of 35 planes soar in each direction to and from the UK and the Arctic Circle during the peak period of the holiday season. It adds up. Yes, instead of heading to Harrods to ask Santa for Christmas presents, some English children prefer sitting in his lap in Lapland. Now their parents can feel a little less guilty.
These popular excursions to Rovaniemi, Finland to meet Father Christmas, involve sleigh rides, sips of reindeer nog, mailing a postcard from Santa's workshop, and stocking up on elves' handiwork. But now, a "Green Routes" program takes a more direct flightpath (as the reindeer flies) through airspace. This idea, a joint venture between Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and the UK, expects to reduce 12-15 tons of CO2 per day.
By cutting 700-800 nautical miles off the trip each way, it also shortens the journey's overall length. Fast becoming a popular way for airlines to reduce fuel consumption, one wonders why airplanes haven't done this all along? Scandinavians' green consciousness includes SAS airline pilots landing in Sweden by coasting onto the runway without the engine on.
Considering Santa flies to us in an energy-efficient sleigh, it might be time to stick closer to home for holiday shopping. As the concern for the melting polar cap rises, this type of extravagance puts green holiday gift giving, plastic or real trees, and flying home for Christmas all in perspective. Supposedly, British folks believe that Father Christmas, as they refer to ole' St. Nick, lives in Lapland, just north of the Arctic Circle. Good thing that the North Pole, where American and Canadian youth think Santa resides, isn't just a flight away.
Naughty or nice? For this tall carbon stocking, these Christmas trekkers get a lump of coal -- appropriately enough for wasting fossil fuel.