Santa Claus has a simple message for the world this year: If we don't act now, Christmas will be cancelled.
In a video message from the North Pole, forced to address the world’s people while lit by a single torch beam from a shabby hut, a disheveled Claus admits defeat.
He and his elves are on the brink of losing their home, workshop and livelihoods, due to the effects of global warming, he explains.
“I have written personally to President Obama, President Putin, all world leaders. Sadly my letters have been met with indifference,” says Santa.
“Needless to say these individuals are now…at the top of my naughty list.”
Melting ice has made life in the Arctic “intolerable and impossible”, he says, his failing health and unkempt appearance revealing the depths of their degradation.
So, if it hurts your heart to watch Santa's misery, then it’s time to act.
His home in the Arctic is fast disappearing, and unless we all act urgently, Christmas may be cancelled.
But not only that, if the Arctic ice goes altogether, it will be a disaster for everything and everyone that lives there. Polar bears, Walruses, Narwhals…and every extraordinary creature for whom this beautiful area is home.
Here are ways to join Greenpeace’s campaign to declare a global sanctuary in area around the North Pole.
There's no time to lose, it's time to save Christmas!
The Path Of Destruction
Want to save this guy and his habitat? Click through to find out how we are destroying the Arctic, one step at a time... (Picture: Young Polar bear standing and trying to balance in shallow water along the Bernard Spit of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, North Slope of the Brooks Range, Alaska, October 2011.)
It Starts With Global Warming
Since the middle of the 20th century, the burning of fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas), has caused a surge in the production of greenhouse gases, heating up our planet to a dangerous degree. That was the unequivocal conclusion of the IPCC report, <a href="http://www.climatechange2013.org/" target="_blank">published in September 2013</a>. Scientists predicted the earth would suffer more extreme weather conditions, such as heat waves and heavy, and the continued rise of sea levels. “As a result of our past, present and expected future emissions of CO2, we are committed to climate change, and effects will persist for many centuries even if emissions of CO2 stop,” said co-chair Thomas Stocker in a statement. Significant, concerted action is now required to stop the continued growth of toxic greenhouse gases caused by burning fossil fuels, said the intergovernmental panel.
Then Everything Starts To Melt
For hundreds of thousands of years, ice has been a permanent feature of the Arctic ocean and could be ice free for the first time since humans walked the Earth, <a href="http://www.savethearctic.org/)" target="_blank">according to Greenpeace</a>. Arctic wildlife would be threatened with extinction if predictions of an <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2013/jul/24/arctic-ice-free-methane-economy-catastrophe" target="_blank">ice-free Arctic by 2054</a>, come true. As far back as the mid-nineties, the World Wildlife Fund warned that Arctic wildlife such as reindeer, polar bears, ringed seals, and a host of plant species and migratory birds would be all threatened by the of global warming effects, such as earlier springs, loss of pack ice, and dwindling/shifting food supplies. Now, the US Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) claim 17 Arctic animals are at risk from the melting ice (including Pacific walrus, whales, musk ok and arctic foxes to the list), <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/8000350/Arctic-fox-joins-polar-bear-on-new-list-of-Arctic-species-in-danger-of-extinction.html" target="_blank">reports The Telegraph</a>.
We Become Used To More ‘Natural’ Disasters
The ice at the top of the world reflects much of the sun’s heat back into space and keeps our whole planet cool, stabilising the weather systems that we depend on to grow our food, <a href="http://www.savethearctic.org" target="_blank">according to Greenpeace</a>. Just last year, Naderev Saño, the lead negotiator of the Philippines delegation told the UN climate talks at Doha that it was <a href="http://youtu.be/OpI-PD6weG8" target="_blank">"time to stop this madness</a>”. Now, the death toll of the strongest storm ever recorded, which recently swept through his country, is estimated to be 10,000. According to report in the New Scientist, higher sea levels due to global warming may have also <a href="http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn24559-funnelling-effect-magnified-impact-of-typhoon-haiyan.html#.UoR0_ZT-LO8" target="_blank">worsened the effects of typhoon Haiyan</a>, which sent a 5-metre-high storm surge over the city of Tacloban.
Then We Release More Toxic Gases (By Mistake)
As the ice melts in the Arctic, Scientists predict that large amounts of methane (a powerful greenhouse gas) could be released in the atmosphere. <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-2343276" target="_blank">According to the BBC</a>, a recent report published by <a href="http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v500/n7464/full/500529a.html" target="_blank">Nature</a> concludes that the release of this gas could cost $60 trillion (£39 trillion), roughly the size of the global economy in 2012, and the impacts are most likely to be felt in developing countries -- due to factors such as flooding, sea level rise, damage to agriculture and human health.
Finally, We Finish The Job...
<a href="http://www.savethearctic.org/" target="_blank">According to Greenpeace</a>, energy companies want to open up a new oil frontier to get at a potential 90 billion barrels of oil (that’s just three years’ worth of oil to the world). Previously classified government documents say dealing with oil spills in the freezing waters is “almost impossible” and inevitable mistakes would shatter the fragile Arctic environment. To drill in the Arctic, oil companies have to drag icebergs out the way of their rigs and use giant hoses to melt floating ice with warm water. Experts from Greenpeace predict that if we let them do this, a catastrophic oil spill is just a matter of time.
And Then We Fight...
Two years ago, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1eL3_Q4aVY" target="_blank">BBC Newsnight reported</a> on Wikileaks cables that showed how countries are scrambling over the resources hidden under the melting Arctic ice. According to the programme, military tensions are escalating as politicians and countries look to carve out their stake. In 2013, Greenpeace are fighting to free the <a href="http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/blog/climate/arctic-30-your-questions-answered-20131112" target="_blank">Arctic 30</a>, who protested peacefully against this Arctic oil rush, and have been arrested and emprisoned. Photo: The 'Kresty' detention center in St. Petersburg, were some of the Arctic 30 are now detained.