Who Can Innovate Us Out of Our Fossil Fuel Rut? The Military

The U.S. military isn't just the greatest fighting force on the planet—it might be the greatest innovating force, too.


Thank you, fossil fuels. You have truly made us a great nation, driving our prosperity over 150 years, enabling advances in medicine, science, and powering the U.S. military to be the most effective fighting force the world has ever seen. Most Americans would want this to remain the case, but the military is now struggling with the increasing burden of its (and our) fossil fuel dependence, and it’s trying to make a change by addressing what top military leaders define as the greatest long-term threat to our national security.

Troops are vulnerable when transporting oil to the front lines as well as when protecting its free flow back to our shores. The military also knows, through the wonders of its own scientific inquiry, that climate change linked to fossil fuel consumption poses serious threats to U.S. security.

All of the big defense contractors did very well through the space race and Cold War. Imagine challenging this sector to innovate our way out of this. They got us to the moon, after all, and they easily have the engineering talent to take us to the next frontier. “We have a frontier that’s staring us in the face on energy,” says Vice Adm. Phil Cullom. Let’s get the best and brightest to work in the service of the country.

The fastest possible transition from fossil fuels to renewables leads right through the military. History shows that some of our most useful innovations—radar, internet, GPS, and more—are achieved through military need but then cross over to the civilian sector with great economic benefits to the nation. Conservatives like entrepreneurship. That much is true. Whether we like having a huge military-industrial complex or not, there’s no doubt it’s up to the job.

While the Pentagon has taken the lead on developing alternatives—an effort our military-industrial complex stands ready to support—the powerful fossil fuel industry and its elected advocates oppose them every step of the way. Given the severity of our security interests and the profit motive for innovative solutions, most Americans might expect a concern for national security to provide the common ground upon which progressives and conservatives can support an off-ramp from oil, coal, and gas.

This should be a no-brainer for policymakers. Politicians always claim to listen to the generals, so why not now? The generals and admirals know that our energy, economic, environmental, and national security are inextricably linked, and that we can either invest in renewable energy now, or pay a higher price in the future by sending the next generation of service members into harm’s way to feed our thirst for fossil fuel.

A new documentary film I’m producing called "The Burden" is telling the story of how fossil fuel dependence threatens national security. “How much more powerful would it be if we had sources of energy that weren’t geography-dependent?” asks Navy Captain Wayne Porter. Says former Republican Congressman Bob Inglis, “We’d say to the Middle East, ‘see if you can drink that stuff!’”

You can help fund "The Burden" by donating.

via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

Yes, you read that right, "history of polling."

Keep Reading Show less
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

RELATED: Joe Namath Says Colin Kaepernick And Eric Reid Should Be Playing In The NFL

"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

RELATED: Video of an Oakland train employee saving a man's life is so insane, it looks like CGI

Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.


In the category of "claims to fame nobody wants," the United States can now add "exporter of white supremacist ideology" to its repertoire. Super.

Russell Travers, acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, made this claim in a briefing at The Washington Institute in Washington, D.C. "For almost two decades, the United States has pointed abroad at countries who are exporters of extreme Islamist ideology," Travers said. "We are now being seen as the exporter of white supremacist ideology. That's a reality with which we are going to have to deal."

Keep Reading Show less

Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

Keep Reading Show less
Good News