Thursday, June 30, 2011

Saving the environment...before we blow it to hell

Even the U.S. military is getting in on the green.

Remember that report from back in 2004?  Pentagon officials named Global Warming and the end of the stable weather patterns of the past 12,000 years as the greatest threats to national security, even more so than terrorism.  The destabilizing effects of environmental disaster will lead to a decrease in livable land, food shortages, riots, and perhaps even nuclear war.  Now, in an effort inspired at least in part by saving the environment, military officials are now very interested in alternative energy sources.  Projects include humvee-like vehicles that run on hybrid fuels and solar power for navy ships.  In one interesting move, the Air Force even once suggested (I've looked all over the place for a link to this, but sadly can't find one) that its ICBMs will soon be powered by clean-burning fuel.  Nice to know that a nuclear missile won't contribute any more pollution into the atmosphere until it reaches its target.

What I find especially interesting his how these initiatives must be pitched to politicians in order to secure funding.  The angle is that for example, a solar powered ship (which makes sense as a ship at sea can soak in a lot of solar energy) can remain operating at sea for a far longer stretch of time before it has to come back in to a friendly port and get resupplied.  Less dependence on oil means no tankers of gas moving in convoys through treacherous locales in Afghanistan or other theaters of operation.  Face it, those fuel trucks might as well have great big "hit me" signs plastered on them for terrorist ambushes.  Supply convoys can now become shorter and more streamlined...or at least a bit less explosive.  A decreased dependence on oil also means less need for political appeasement in the Middle East.
All of this is logical and makes good sense in tactical terms.  What gets me is that none of it could be proposed under the auspices of "reducing Global Warming."  There are Republicans in Congress who are set to vote against any piece of legislation that even mentions Global Warming as being a reality.  Nothing like playing politics with our own environment.
Don't get me wrong.  To paraphrase Bono, I'm no hippie with flowers in my hair.  I wear combat boots, not sandals.  I know all the words to Fear's "I Don't Care About You," not The Byrds' "Turn Turn Turn."  The issue of our environment is beyond hippie versus punk or Democrat versus Republican.  It's all about how we're going to live and what kind of world that living will take place in.  Personally, I'd like a world with a sustainable climate, clean air, available water (a bigger challenge than you think), and freedom from a killer storm every week (see Newsweek, "The New Normal.")  If we can give our armed forces an advantage in the process...bonus.

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1 comment:

  1. On Facebook, Bernard said: "Well put. The first thing I thought when I started reading this was, "I love the idea of getting rid of some of these damn supply lines." When I was in Iraq, I HATED convoys for this very reason..."


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