An Open Letter to Santa: Please Stop Putting Lumps of Coal in StockingsPosted: December 23, 2013
I know that you see us when we’re sleeping and when we are awake. I also know that you are famous for depositing lumps of coal into the stockings of people on your Naughty list. May I make a gentle suggestion, dear Santa, that you stop doing that?
I am certain, dear Santa, that you are ecologically conscious, and so you undoubtedly only deposit lumps of anthracite coal, which averages 86 to 98 percent carbon content and is therefore the cleanest-burning type of coal. But Santa, coal is nonetheless responsible for generating approximately one-third of all the carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to climate change. Your distributing lumps of coal, however well-meaning, nonetheless perpetuates the dependence on coal to produce electricity and other forms of energy in the United States and worldwide.
Mind you, there are those who promote the concept of clean coal, claiming that this technology or that one that washes away undesirable sulfur content or otherwise removes the pollution from coal while extracting the full measure of its energy-generating power. Nonetheless, the viability of clean coal is still a matter of vigorous debate. Of course, none of this takes into the account the destruction of the environment or the lives of miners associated with extracting coal from the ground. Do you really want to promote mountaintop removal or contribute to the human tragedy of black lung disease and other health-related problems associated with coal mining?
Instead, dear Santa, you could take a stand for sustainability and promote better behavior on the part of those unfortunates on your Naughty list by replacing lumps of coal with lumps of wood pellets suitable for burning in wood pellet stoves. Unlike coal mining, the production of wood pellets inflicts little or no damage on the environment or on the lives of workers. Wood pellets are comprised of highly compacted nuggets of wood shavings and sawdust – waste products of paper, lumber, furniture making and other industries that use wood. The process of producing wood pellets is both inexpensive and environmentally friendly. Some countries even offer financial incentives for purchasing and installing wood pellet stoves or other renewable energy systems in their homes or businesses. It’s a win-win proposition, Santa.
By providing lumps of wood pellets in place of lumps of coal, you may also inspire those Naughty boys and girls to turn away from carbon fuels altogether. You could inspire them to become part of an ongoing movement toward adopting renewable energy sources. In this way, they could transform themselves from Naughty to Nice in plenty of time for Christmas 2014.
Dear Santa, I understand that this is high season for you, but this is precisely why I am making my suggestion now. I would ask that as you load your sleigh with lots of toys and goodies for those on your Nice list, that you consider this humble suggestion considering those on your Naughty list: leave the coal in the ground. Pack plenty of bags of wood pellets instead. I understand that this is giving you short notice, but I believe in elfin magic, so I have faith that you can make this happen.
With love always,