Others dismiss Earth Day as a symbol of mushy-minded ecomania that elevates the environment over the economy. It's a false choice, but the notion that doing something about the environment will cost the economy persists. Those who are skeptical about climate change are generally the same as those who are negative about renewable energy.
However, there are other reasons to support and promote renewable energy, and a big one is energy security. If it's renewable we don't need to rely on the supply of something like oil or uranium that has to come from somewhere else, possibly a country or region hostile to us.
Energy security matters. Most casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan come from the necessity of fuel transport--the supply chain is long and highly vulnerable.
Failing to make the speediest transition to renewable energy is bad policy for many reasons. It costs lives. It costs money. It funds those hostile to us. And it's futile, because the current energy model is not sustainable. Even the military recognizes that we need to get beyond oil because we're running out of the stuff.
Veterans are speaking up. VoteVets and Operation Free have teamed up to run some powerful TV ads that make the connection between our dependence on oil and the cost in dollars and lives it leads to:
Polls of veterans are clear:
A compelling new poll of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans finds that 73 percent of them support Clean Energy Climate Change legislation in Congress, 79 percent believe ending our dependence on foreign oil is important to national security, and 67 percent support the argument that such legislation will help their own economic prospects.Military leadership gets it too:
The poll was conducted by Lake Research Group for VoteVets.org In February, and is made up of 45 percent self-identified Republicans, 25 percent Independents, and 20 percent Democrats.
The military, which pioneered the gas-guzzling Humvee, was not always as concerned with conservation, says Kevin Geiss, the Army's program director for energy security. However, the Pentagon stated in its strategy review, published this year, that consuming less foreign oil and contributing less to climate change are critical to long-term safety.So why isn't it happening apace? Want to support our troops? Then support renewable energy and the impending climate and energy legislation that advances it.
"The Army's mission is not to be green. Our mission is to defend the nation. In that context, we've found it's in our interest to develop sustainable projects," Geiss says.
Save money. Save lives. Save the Earth. That would be a happy Earth Day indeed.
Hydrovolts' James Marvin will be in Washington DC next week on April 28 to meet with military leaders and members of Operation Free. Contact us if you'd like to meet with him while he's there.