Sorry kids, but if Santa were taking a real close look, we all would have received a lump of coal in our stockings this year for being the worst contributors to global warming on the planet.
Instead of delivering presents, I imagine he would be sneaking into all our houses and swapping out those incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescents.
Santa probably would be pretty peeved about the climate changes happening at the North Pole, and that his flying reindeer might soon join all the other arctic species on the threatened-species list. Indeed, we Americans have been very, very naughty.
Surely, most of us now realize we can't go on this way. We can't continue gorging ourselves at the all-you-can-eat buffet created by our fossil-fueled agricultural system.
Nor can we keep adding more coal-burning plants to feed our lust for power, or driving inefficient Hummers.
We already have burned through our share of the world's resources and are now dipping deeply into our children's and grandchildren's meager allotments.
World energy ministers recently met in Bali and made a few moves toward addressing climate change, without much help from us.
"The world cannot afford to wait. It has less than a decade to change course," said Kevin Watkins, a senior research fellow at Britain's Oxford University.
Watkins authored a report that warns, "Dangerous climate change will be unavoidable if, in the next 15 years, emissions follow the same trend as the past 15 years."
Watkins pointed out that "when people in an American city turn on their air conditioning or people in Europe drive their cars, their actions have consequences ... linking them to rural communities in Bangladesh, farmers in Ethiopia and slum dwellers in Haiti."
We now stand alone in the world community as the only westernized nation that refuses to ratify the Kyoto Accord since Australia signed in Bali to thunderous applause.
What are we waiting for? We can't afford to wait for the government to act; the change has to begin now, with each American household and individual.
Shawn Dell Joyce is a sustainable artist and activist and founder of the Wallkill River School.
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