“Oh my,” said Santa, as he looked at the good and bad lists for 2021.
“Sorry, Santa,” said the elf chief of staff.
“Another 81 million people – an addition just like last year. And the year before. How am I supposed to deliver to all these people? Are you sure this is correct?”
“Yes, Santa,” said the elf. “And next year at this time, we’ll be close to 8 billion in total!”
“8 billion!!” exclaimed Santa. “That is ridiculous. Why it seems like just yesterday it was 2 billion.”
“Yes, Santa,” said the elf. “It was less than 100 Christmases ago… about 1923.”
“Good grief,” said Santa. “Well, an elf has to do what an elf has to do, I suppose. Let’s take a look at some of the good and bad boys and girls this year. You may as well let me see the bad list first.”
“Yes, Santa, here you go,” said the chief of staff.
Santa skimmed through the BAD LIST and this is some of what he saw:
The Iranian Guardian Council – Very Bad in 2021. On November 1, 2021, the council approved outlawing sterilization and free distribution of contraceptives in the public health care system unless a pregnancy threatens a woman’s health.
Business mogul Elon Musk – Very Bad in 2021. On December 6, 2021, Musk said, "I think one of the biggest risks to civilization is the low birth rate and the rapidly declining birthrate… Please look at the numbers – if people don't have more children, civilization is going to crumble, mark my words."
US Supreme Court – Very Bad in 2021. After hearings on December 1, 2021, the court appeared poised to uphold a Mississippi state law, which bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Such a ruling would be flatly at odds with what the court has said was the central holding of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to abortion and prohibited states from banning the procedure before fetal viability, or around 23 weeks.
Santa grimaced and shouted to his chief of staff, “Double extra coal for these folks. Maybe they will do better next year… one can only hope.”
Then Santa reviewed the GOOD LIST.
Dinesh Talwar and his wife Disha – Very Good in 2021. This Meerut-based couple got some publicity with a “reverse walk” to sensitize the Indian government and residents about adverse effects of increasing population.
Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, 2021’s Champion of the Earth for Science and Innovation – Very, Very Good in 2021. “When you show people that you care about them and about their health and well-being, you help them better co-exist with wildlife.” In addition to promoting hygiene and good sanitation practices, her teams also support family planning.
Ms. Nancy Tembo, Malawi’s Minister of Forestry and Natural Resources – Very, Very Good in 2021. She spoke at the November 2021 Climate Conference in Glasgow (COP26) and had this to say: “Malawi is highly populated, highly vulnerable to climate change — we have rapid population growth. This is a recipe for disaster… Unless we address issues of reproductive health and population, we will not achieve anything... Addressing gender and population growth need to be at the center of climate mitigation and adaptation."
“Well,” said Santa, “At least some people get it. Pack some extra goodies for these wise folks.”
“Sure thing, Santa,” said the chief elf.
“Oh, also, don’t forget to pack the Endangered Species Condoms,” said Santa. “There never has been a better stocking stuffer than that. Fun. Practical. And it might save me some work next year!”
“Yes, Santa,” said the elf. “Right away.”