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Santa’s Canadian – And He Loves Milk and Danish

Posted by Daniel Hoornweg on December 17, 2014

Everyone knows that Santa Claus is Canadian. Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander issued Santa Canadian citizenship last year, and for more than a decade mailing a letter to Santa from anywhere in the world just needed the address: Santa, Canada, H0H 0H0. There’s also the often-overlooked fact that Santa likely uses some sort of old fashioned compass for navigation and therefore probably lives at the magnetic north pole (which is near Canada’s Elsmere Island).

Yet, earlier this week Denmark made a claim on Santa and the North Pole. Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the US are now all vying for ownership of the north. This is a bit reminiscent of ‘boys-will-be-boys’ or ‘countries-will-be-countries’ as they fight over territorial land claims. But maybe it is time for cities to move in as the ‘senior’ levels of government.

Whether it is a fight over the North Pole and potential oil resources below the seabed, or the latest skirmish between China, Philippines, Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei over disputed territories in the South China Sea (also largely about possible resources); these arguments would likely take on a whole different flavor if they were led by cities.

True, the disputed resources are mostly headed for cities, and we all love to pay as little as possible, but the cities of Copenhagen, or Montreal and Toronto, or Moscow, or New York and Chicago, or Oslo, all seem to have bigger challenges to face than having their nationalistic pride stirred up. People in these cities pay the bulk of taxes needed for national armies.  These cities, along with all the world’s major cities, are facing enormous challenges like climate change, changing employment, aging populations, etc.

Also, maybe it is the Christmas season but countries fighting over the North Pole seems a bit Scrooge-like. If cities, and the countries they empower and finance, cannot figure out how to share distant seabeds we are all in serious trouble. We all deserve lumps of coal in our stockings if this is how we act – and of course, that coal is even less useful in Ontario as we can no longer burn it for electricity.

Merry Christmas Copenhagen – let’s figure out how to share Saint Nick, resources and reindeer, not to mention common futures.

Filed under: Sustainability 101