Even if I knew thanks to Thomas Friedman and his book Hot, Flat and Crowded that the US Army is willing to outgreen its opponents, I found more information in an article from the New York Times.
The US Army is willing to cut its energy and water to decrease the risks inherent to their transport. This means saving lives, natural resources and money. And this even without mentioning climate change mitigation.
Here are a few ideas it is putting in place: energy saving by insulating tents, low carbon energy from waste, recycling water and alternatives fuel made of algae for jets.
As the New York Times notes in its brilliant article:
(…) The long logistics “tail” that follows troops into the war zone — moving fuel, water and supplies in and waste out — risks lives and diverts major resources from fighting, Department of Defense (DOD) officials say (ClimateWire, July 20).
Fuel and water represented two-thirds of the tonnage in Iraq convoys — each one vulnerable to insurgents’ explosives. Each must be protected by armored vehicles, helicopters and even fighter aircraft. Afghanistan’s more remote, mountainous roads are still more challenging.
Slowly seeing this reality, the military has deployed simple measures first. The Army, for example, recently spent $95 million spraying tents in Iraq with foam insulation, slashing air conditioning demands nearly in half and eliminating an estimated 12 fuel convoys a day.
Now, DOD has $300 million from President Obama’s economic stimulus to pursue energy research, supplementing funds it has already been devoting to that end. The hope is for longer-term solutions, some that could also one day make their way off the battlefield.
(…) A good deal of the fuel used at forward operating bases goes toward powering electric generators. Meanwhile, every soldier produces an average of 7 pounds of waste daily.
Taylor’s firm estimates that a zero footprint camp could supply up to a third of its own fuel needs by reusing waste. And while turning waste into electricity is not a new idea, doing it in small units in a harsh desert climate is another story.
(…) The Army, for example, is now setting up renewable energy technology tests at some of its modular force provider camps. John Munroe, of the U.S. Army’s Natick, Mass., Soldier Research, Development & Engineering Center, said that it will be looking for systems that are rugged and reliable and have a quick set-up.
For more on this, please check out the whole article. It is full of ideas that could end up one day in our neighborhoods.
But here is something that this article s didn’t mention: what if the soldiers when going back home asked to have all these great solutions applied in their families’ neighborhood ?
This would be a strong push for solutions that could save their families and communities a lot of money and preserve our common environment.