News Stories

Military Going Green

The LAST group of people you'd expect to be worried about climate change is the military, since you'd think they'd be used to heat by now, since they're current fighting two wars in desert regions and helping to bomb in a third. However, climate change presents national and homeland security challenges that will require the US military to adopt a new way of doing business.

The Navy is especially worried: A new report paints an ominous picture of disputes over national boundaries and exclusive economic zones, strains on naval capabilities due to increasing disaster assistance demands, vulnerabilities of naval coastal facilities to sea level rise, greater demands on America's international maritime partnerships, and a shortfall in naval capabilities and personnel trained to operate in the Arctic.

Conflict over new national boundaries in the Arctic has already strained our relations with Canada, since much of Canada’s territory is in the Arctic and their claims overlap with US claims. The US considers the Northwest Passage international waters, whereas Canada sees them as within its national boundaries. Oceanographer Mahlon "Chuck" Kennicutt says, "How this will affect US national and homeland security is open to debate, but it is clear that an ice-free summer Arctic will dramatically change the politics and military strategies of the north for the foreseeable future."

And here's a "green" way to detect roadside bombs (and it's REALLY the Curry Cure): The main chemical in the curry spice turmeric could be the basis for cheap explosives detectors, because, as it detects molecules of explosives in the air, it changes its light-emitting properties and this can be measured. According to Kennicutt, "How the US military responds to a changing world will be critical to how prepared we are as a nation for a future that might look quite different than today. The report looks at some rather dire situations that could become a reality in just a few short years, and will the US naval forces be ready to respond?"

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