The U.S. Military is planning for climate change – what about you?

by

February 21, 2011

Jamie Green, Director of Government Relations and Public Policy Development

“Climate change is part of national security.  The debate is over.”

That statement is bold, and might be easily written off if the person who stated it is perceived to be soft on national defense or extremely liberal in their views.

But what if it comes from a United States Marine Colonel?  Who just happens to work for the Joint Chiefs of Staff?  Doesn’t such a statement have a lot more gravitas?

That statement was uttered just days ago, in The Chamber Board room by Colonel Mark “Puck” Mykleby.  Mykleby, along with Professor David Orr, were the keynote speakers at the 3rd annual Climate Protection Partnership event.

Mykleby is an F-18 combat pilot, a man who has served in 5 tours of duty in the Mideast and Europe, including Iraq and Bosnia.  Remember Tom Cruise in Top Gun?  Mykleby is the real thing.

Mykleby argues that the theory of containment is over, and that the nation needs to turn to a new strategic theory, one that puts sustainability in the forefront.  “I believe we need to make sustainability our national security priority for the 21st century,” he stated on Friday.

The speech was not all gloom and doom, but was sobering.  Mykleby talked about how if the nation does not begin to become much more sustainable, there will be hard choices that will be forced upon us, not made of our own volition

He did mention that the U.S. military is taking the issue and is taking strong steps including, reducing their oil consumption by 50% by 2020, sailing a “green fleet” by 2016 that is powered by algae instead of diesel fuel.  He noted already in Afghanistan that the Department of Defense is utilizing solar and wind energy for their facilities and is planning to have ½ of military basis be energy net zero by 2020.

Next week, thoughts on Professor Orr’s presentation and what he is doing at Oberlin College and how it could be applied in Kansas City.

Catch video highlights from the February 18, 2011 event, including the Climate Partner who most reduced its carbon emissions in 2010!

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