“Papa, Father Christmas lives at the North Pole!” my daughter announced with the confidence of a four-year-old.
Yes he does, I said, wanting her to experience this magic while she can. What is the North Pole like?
“Well, it is covered with ice and ... snow ... all white and cold ...and …”
But by the time she stops believing in a few years, I think to myself, it might not be. The 2007 ice shocked everyone, shrinking so much that the sea drew near the Pole. That year the IPCC had predicted a new ocean there by 2070. Two months later a new projection said 2030. Two months later they said five years. I'm already talking about Santa Claus; what else should I pretend?
What animals would Santa see at the North Pole? I ask.
“Well,” she begins, “there are polar bears, and seals, and ...”
Perhaps not for long. The polar bears eat the seals that eat the fish that eat the plankton, and the plankton are dying – 73 percent down since 1960. Half the plankton – almost half the animal mass of the Arctic – have disappeared since the Simpsons’ first episode. Maybe it’s because the oceans are growing warmer, maybe because they are getting more acid, maybe it's the plastic and chemicals we've poured into the oceans in my short lifetime. We just don't know.
- Brian Kaller, The Moment of Darkness.What can small children understand and handle? What can we do to prepare them for a bumpy future? What does hope look like today? This is a moving Christmas Eve reflection from the father of a young girl as he looks to the future from amidst a moment of darkness.