Under the Radar

The Department of Defense might not care about the environment, but it's quietly leading the quest for renewable energy.

The Department of Defense might not care about the environment, but it's quietly leading the quest for renewable energy.

Last summer, Marine Corps Major General Richard Zilmer, the head of coalition forces in western Iraq, sent an "urgent request" to the Pentagon, asking for new gear. At the top of his list was a "priority 1" plea for renewable power stations, equipped with "solar panels and wind turbines."It's not as if General Zilmer was suddenly worried about global warming instead of insurgents. Constantly resupplying out-of-the-way bases with fossil fuels puts troops at risk of "serious and grave casualties" on Iraq's roadways, Zilmer noted in his request. Not to mention the expense: Factor in transportation and storage, and the price of a gallon of fuel in Iraq can be as high as $400. Green power had become a battlefield necessity.Efforts like these have put the Defense Department at the vanguard of a new wave of self-interested environmentalists-motivated not by calls to conscience, but by calls to the bottom line, and to personal and corporate preservation. Companies and individuals could learn a thing or two from the men in uniform, like being realistic in their investments, and not becoming married to a single clean-power technology. The Pentagon's new environmentalism also contains a hard lesson for anyone looking to throw spitballs at these untraditional greens. Motivation doesn't matter. Results do. And if generals, carmakers-or even oil-company execs-suddenly find it's best for them to get on the clean-power bandwagon, we should welcome them on board, not question why they're here. "Before, this was always viewed as a zero-sum game-you were either environmental or profit-driven," says Ethan Zindler, an analyst at New Energy Finance. "But with $60 barrels of oil, the two now go hand in hand. And that's good for everybody."The Defense Department is the world's largest energy consumer, spending $10.6 billion annually, almost two percent of the entire country's use. So there's plenty of motivation for the military to wean itself off of fossil fuels. It has already made a pretty decent start: In September 2005, the federal government decreed that 7.5 percent of its power should come from renewable sources by 2013. The Pentagon is already there.
The Pentagon has a hard lesson for anyone looking to throw spitballs at these untraditional greens.
How? By staying flexible, for starters-using whatever renewable resource makes the most sense, given the location. In sunny San Diego, California, Naval Base Coronado's solar power is saving the annual equivalent of 6,000 barrels of oil. Wind turbines help Warren Air Force Base in gusty Wyoming, keeping 4,866 tons of carbon dioxide emissions from escaping into the atmosphere per year. Then there are the nine military bases that are powered geothermally, by the heat of the earth. California's Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake kicks off 270 megawatts of electricity, keeping lights turned on as far away as Los Angeles.All of these approaches are proven energy-savers-this isn't solar panels as window dressing. And none of them required massive new infrastructure investments in order to work. (The Pentagon is, however, spending hundreds of millions of dollars to radically improve renewable gear like solar panels.) Contrast that with the behavior of some energy-eating companies, who seem joined at the hip to a single far-off approach that would require a country-wide extreme environmental makeover (I'm looking at you, GM, and those hydrogen fuel cells of yours).These military investments have been done quietly-unlike the full-page ads that energy companies seem to run every time they drop a dime into an eco-friendly account. The Pentagon isn't like oil giant Chevron, which trumpets its alternative fuels research, while spending big to kill California's ethanol-promoting Proposition 87.The Defense Department's big green push, in some sense, hasn't really gotten under way. Plans for diesel-electric Humvees and tanks, in the works for years, have been slowed because of battery issues. But the goal is very much front and center-as is a synthetic replacement for the jet fuel currently gobbled up by the Air Force; a B-52 running synthetic fuel flew in September. And General Zilmer's solar and wind generators? The military's first "Transportable Hybrid Electric Power Station" is scheduled to head into the field in February. It's amazing what a little self-interest can do.
Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

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The Planet

Millions of people in over 150 countries across the globe marched for lawmakers and corporations to take action to help stop climate change on Friday, September 20.

The Climate Strikes were organized by children around the world as an extension of the of the "Fridays for Future" campaign. Students have been walking out of classrooms on Fridays to speak out about political inaction surrounding the climate crisis.

"We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart," organizers say.

There's no doubt the visual images from the marches send a powerful message to those on the ground but especially those watching from around the world. GOOD's own Gabriel Reilich was on the scene for the largest of the Climate Strikes. Here are 18 of the best signs from the Climate Strike march in New York City.

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September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

Millions of people are expected to take part in an estimated 4,000 events across 130 countries.

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The Planet
via Apple

When the iPhone 11 debuted on September 10, it was met with less enthusiasm than the usual iPhone release. A lot of techies are holding off purchasing the latest gadget until Apple releases a phone with 5G technology.

Major US phone carriers have yet to build out the infrastructure necessary to provide a consistent 5G experience, so Apple didn't feel it necessary to integrate the technology into its latest iPhone.

A dramatic new feature on the iPhone 11 Pro is its three camera lenses. The three lenses give users the the original wide, plus ultrawide and telephoto options.

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via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

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