Appreciating the Military for Combating Climate Change

The month of May is Military Appreciation Month. As a former soldier, as well as a father and husband of other soldiers, there is much I appreciate about the military. But, perhaps one of the things I appreciate about it most, recently, is its commitment to leading the way on energy efficiency, and combatting climate change.

While many on the right want people to think about climate change as a "lefty issue," nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the issue is a crucial matter of national security.

The 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review found that, "the pressures caused by climate change will influence resource competition while placing additional burdens on economies, societies, and governance institutions around the world." And, in 2014, while it found climate change "alone does not cause conflict, it may act as an accelerant of instability or conflict, placing a burden to respond on civilian institutions and militaries around the world."

And so the military has taken steps to lead the way on energy efficiency, reducing dependence on fossil fuels, and reducing its carbon footprint.

Many installations have been made more energy efficient, including housing for service members and their families. And both the Marines and the Air Force have established offices to seek out new ways to become energy efficient, while the Army has introduced an Energy Security Implementation Strategy, to make itself as energy efficient as possible.

But, the Navy is showing some of the most exciting progress (and it pains me, as an Army man, through and through, to admit that!)

Through its Great Green Fleet initiative, the Department of the Navy now meets about half of its energy needs through renewables, and at sea, the Navy has launched a strike group that is partly fueled by biofuels. It's an important statement at a time when here in the US, there is a debate about the future of the Renewable Fuel Standard, which continues to require that our gasoline blend in biofuels like ethanol, to reduce our dependence on oil, and reduce carbon emissions.

As we look towards November, and election of our next president, we must demand that they allow the military to continue to pursue these clean energy goals. Clearly, the military sees the issue of climate change as important as the scientific community, and is willing to do its part.

I think we all can appreciate that.