Veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were awarded “Champions of Change” by the White House earlier this month. National security, clean energy, and climate change are intrinsically linked, the article describes. Shifts in the way that troops acquire and use energy in the field can not only have a dramatic shift on the impact on the climate, but on their safety as well. For one, “fuel convoys are frequently subject to enemy attacks,” the article notes. One recipient of the award describes his thoughts on how dollars spent on our abundant use of oil is actually going right into the pockets of the dictators and terrorist groups we are attempting to thwart. Another discussed how if the U.S. attempts to tell countries like Afghanistan and Iraq that they can’t grow their economies on fossil fuels the way that we did but instead on renewables, they will resent the United States even further.
These Veterans all agree that since the military is powered by a constant drive of energy, large steps need to be made to increase the abundance of renewables like solar and wind used to power troops on the ground. Retired Air Force colonel Dave Belote said, “For us its non-political. For us, being people who came from that world, as veterans, it’s a mission accomplishment thing.”