The organization known as the world’s largest consumer of diesel and emitter of carbon is trying to make an about face in its relationship with the environment. The United States Department of Defense is one of few organizations in the developed world that adheres to no environmental standards for vehicle emissions, waste management, or how it disperses toxic materials, but 2010 marked a year in which the United States military endeavored to make a difference ecologically.
The government has gone to great lengths to make cleanup of its military‘s “federal facilities” AKA super fund sites a higher priority within the Environmental Protection Agency. Additionally, officials have noted that harvesting energy from carbon neutral sources not only fits within the military’s newly minted green-leaning concepts but also helps in reducing energy costs in the long term. Currently the military accounts for an astounding 80% of the United States’ energy use which amounts to 330,000 barrels of oil and 3.8 billion kilowatts of electricity per day for more than 500 major military installations. Americans are increasingly aware of the issues concerning global warming and environmental degradation, and have pressured military leaders to issue long term goals to drastically reduce the carbon foot print of the world’s most powerful military force. One such goal includes the military deriving 25% of its energy from renewable resources by 2025.
Reducing the carbon foot print is an idea that many environmentally conscious people can get behind, but could there be other benefits from this initiative for the military? According to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus reducing the military’s dependence on fossil fuels will weaken profits flowing into rogue nations, as well as reducing the number of times the military has to undertake dangerous refueling missions to outposts of troops and vehicles prone to frequent ambush in theaters of war. Future green-minded innovations the DOD has coming down the pipeline include a naval carrier strike group that will run entirely on renewable fuels, as well as having a Naval Air Weapons Station in California running on geothermal energy, while also planning to take the entire Air Force Academy off the grid in Colorado Springs.