A Canadian campaign to fight global warming is using perhaps the ultimate scare tactic to raise cash for the cause: Santa Claus and his reindeer are going to drown -- unless you give money, and fast.
The "Where Will Santa Live" website depicts Kris Kringle and two of his trusty reindeer struggling in the rising waters of the North Pole. Santa's sleigh is keeping afloat on pontoons, and Rudolph and his buddy each have a pair of water wings to keep them from going under.
"The North Pole, once a wintery wonderland, is no longer safe for Santa's workshop," the website states. "Climate change is melting the snow and ice, and the rising water is getting too close for comfort. Santa must relocate — fast — to make sure that all the nice boys and girls still have a Happy Holiday."
So how to do your part to keep Santa from drowning? The site offers a whole host of supplies for sale to help -- things like a "Dri-Fit Santa Suit" ($49.99), a "Solar Shine Reindeer Beacon" ($29.99), and those "Magic Sleigh Pontoons."
There's a catch, though: You (or Santa) won't actually receive any of the things you buy. They're "symbolic gifts" that are simply a colorful way of donating to the David Suzuki Foundation, a Canadian environmental activism group. Instead, you'll get an e-card with a description of your "gift" and "that warm, tingly feeling that comes with knowing you helped keep Canada cold."
"This is a cheeky campaign aimed at raising money for the foundation's efforts to battle climate change," spokesman Jim Boothroyd told CTV. "Very light. Under this campaign, supporters can go to the website and find that the foundations of Santa and his elves' houses are melting and the reindeer are sinking beneath the waves."
To drive the point home further, Suzuki even filmed a "live report" from the North Pole talking about the danger Santa is in. (That's also him as the elf holding the hockey stick on the site's main image.)
Among the items available for "purchase":
- "Dri-Fit Santa Suit" ($49.99) -- Santa's new suit -- made with FreezerFleeceTM -- is perfect for warmer climes. Its space-age moisture wicking fibers help ensure he stays cool and dry as the mercury rises.
- "Elf-Sized Hockey Sticks" ($19.99) -- Santa's elves will need to make new friends wherever they land, and the easiest way is to join the local shinny hockey game. That's why Santa needs to stock up on these elf-sized Hockey sticks.
- "Reindeer Water Wings"($19.99) -- Eco-friendly neoprene and bio-based foam ensure durability and buoyancy while the patented design allows for full leg movement. Each wing is fitted with two valve sizes to allow for easy inflation by both elves and reindeer.
- "Solar Shine Reindeer Beacon" ($29.99) -- Thanks to the power of the sun, now any of Santa’s Reindeer can lead the sleigh. Bright enough to shine through the densest fog and guaranteed to hold its charge all night – this is one gift that’s right on the nose.
- "Travel Cobbling Kit" ($29.99) -- The Travel Cobbling Kit has everything an Elf might need on the road. This kit has it all. From a traditional wooden cobbler’s mallet to the world’s smallest Lithium-Ion 18-volt rechargeable power drill.
You can view the rest here.
A representative from the David Suzuki Foundation did not immediately return a request for comment, but last week the foundation said the campaign has come "under vicious attack" from "right wing media." In a Dec. 7 post, the foundation's CEO named Fox News, Canada's National Post and "prominent climate change deniers," saying they had denounced the campaign as "fear mongering."
The campaign earned a brief mention on Fox News' "Special Report with Bret Baier" on Dec. 2, though Baier merely read a brief description of the effort and noted that the temperature at the North Pole for the day hovered around 14 degrees below Fahrenheit.
A report in the Toronto Sun also confirmed there is no need to panic: Santa is alive and well in the North Poll, and NORAD is prepared to track his sleigh's progress around the world as usual.
"There has been no change in his itinerary, we know when he departs, folks can follow us on Christmas Eve day, as he leaves from the North Pole," Lt. Col. Michael Humphreys with NORAD at the U.S. Army base in Colorado said. "There is no command more capable of tracking Santa, because we have the technology to do it."
Walt Meier, a research scientist with the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder, said the North Pole has plenty of ice to keep Santa happy and that he is in no way sinking.
"At the North Pole you are in an area where there is still a lot of thick ice," he said. "At any given time, you can even have five meters of ice."
Watch a Canadian news report debunking the campaign further here.