The news was shocking, disturbing to anyone who is still a child at heart. Early this month, CBS announced: “Reindeer near Santa’s hometown need help to survive a warming climate.” NBC, a little later, was less dramatic: “Climate change threatens reindeer food supplies in Sweden’s Arctic.”
I dunno. I think CBS has it right. No reindeer means no Rudolph – or Comet or Cupid or Donner or Blitzen. Well, you now the team. And, without them, Santa will be grounded, out of commission, heading for retirement. And what will the kiddies do?
The CBS report centered on Finland, where, “reindeer herds are struggling to find food.” The problem is that warming temperatures melt fallen snow and overnight freezes over the ground with ice, preventing the reindeer from pawing down to the life-sustaining lichen.
The warming Earth also means more rain and less snow and, again, more ice.
The 2018 NOAA Arctic Report Card noted that, “Overall abundance of reindeer and caribou has declined 56 percent from a total estimated population of 4.7 million individuals to about 2.1 million individuals over the past two decades. Five herds in particular, in the Alaska-Canada region, experienced such drastic declines that recovery isn’t in sight.”
The reindeer/caribou are not the only Arctic denizens in danger. Melting sea ice is evicting polar bears from their homes. And, to be sure, the Sami reindeer herders face a bleak future with depleted toward vanishing herds.
Also in early December, the BBC noted, “As the climate warms, birds are shrinking and their wingspans are growing, according to a new study.
“Researchers analyzed 70,716 specimens from 52 North American migratory bird species collected over 40 years.”
This followed a doomsday CNN/Gray News story in October: ” A new report from the National Audubon Society warns North America will lose nearly two-thirds of its birds if global warming hits 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit (3 degrees Celsius).
“That’s roughly 400 types of birds, including orioles, eagles, and gulls. Scientists say all of them will be vulnerable.
“The research comes after a report published last month that showed the United States and Canada had lost 2.9 billion birds in the last 50 years.”
Also in October, Mary Papenfuss of Huffington Post offered another dose of bad news: “Excruciatingly thin grizzly bears in Canada are fresh evidence of the dire consequences of climate change and vanishing food sources for wildlife….Salmon, a key food source for grizzlies, is at an all-time low, affected by climate change. Fisherman say the salmon population is the smallest they’ve seen in 50 years, according to CNN.”
As the salmon decline, so, too, will the grizzlies. Where will Goldilocks find a place to rest?
Global warming is also the culprit in the mass die-off of puffins and the persistence of a virus that plagues frogs.
So, with the scientific evidence piling up like Chinese trademarks for the president’s favorite daughter, it is no wonder that Greta Thunberg, Sweden’s climate crusader, was honored as Time Magazine’s Person of the Year.
Her constant refrain has been to “listen to the scientists” for the evidence of Earth’s changing climate.
It is no surprise either that the president of the U.S. – fresh from being laughed out of Europe by the adults at NATO – would attack a 16-year-old girl who just wants to save the planet and who demonstrates on a daily basis that she is smarter and more responsible than he has ever shown himself to be.