First Baby Seals, Then Spotted Owls...Now Frankincense
Yes, the enviros are busy as Santa's elves. But instead of confecting toys for good girls and boys, they're out to make Christmas ever less merry and bright.
Their newest concern (what's an environmentalist without a concern? A day without sunshine, it would appear) is to prevent celebrations that have used frankincense for Christmas services for oh, two millennia, from using it now.
No, no Congressional action -- yet. But if you were planning to celebrate the gifts of the Three Wise Men, you'd better buy some extra frankincense this week and freeze it for the decades ahead, after Dutch and Ethiopian environmental scientists have warned that the ancient tree that produces the fragrant resin is, like baby seals and spotted owls, endangered.
According to last night's Telegraph,
The number of boswellia trees, which produce frankincense, could drop by half in the next 15 years and all but disappear in 50 years, figures suggest.
The incense has been a key part of Christmas since one of the Three Wise Men carried it as a gift to the newborn baby Jesus.
Dutch and Ethiopian researchers say that a combination of fire, cattle grazing and insect attack could destroy the boswellia trees.
Dr Frans Bongers of Wageningen University in Holland, which carried out the research, called for boswellia plantations to be left alone for five to 10 years to encourage new growth.
What are these scientists going to warn us about next? The shortage of myrrh? Tree ornaments? Wrapping paper?
I hear the forthcoming research project of the Environmental Protection Agency will be to examine Santa's headquarters at the North Pole, with the idea of ordering the white-bearded doyen of Christmases past to forsake his historic home and move to Antarctica. They suspect global warming in his present digs.
Is there anything environmentalists don't want to ruin with their never-ending urge to "protect"?