Everyone knows him for his long white beard, his red outfit and his habit of giving every kid a gift on Christmas Eve. But this year Santa Claus has a new duty: he has been nominated as ambassador for European forests.
This week is the European Forest Week, and delegates from 40 countries gathered in Rovaniemi, Finland, to discuss how forest can help having greener economies.
UN Economic Commission for Europe
"Actually, contrary to the popular belief, European forests are thriving, they are healthy and they are growing in size. Moreover, they provide 4 million people with income and employment.”
They decided that Santa Claus could help them a lot in making people aware of the importance of forests. His nomination was the idea of the General Director of the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Juha Ojala. In fact, the Finnish town where the meeting was held is the place where Santa Claus has his main post office.
Nobody knows what tasks his new charge includes. For the moment, Santa has visited some Finnish schools explaining the importance of trees in everyday's life.
"Forests are a precious gift - they provide us with wood that we use for building, paper and fuel; they also provide us with food and drinking water and help slow climate change. Look around you, wood and wood products are everywhere.”
With this new mission, Santa adds an environmental alarm call to his classic and merry season messages. Perhaps for the first time, this Christmas won't only be red - but also green.