What’s Going On Here?
This week, the British Army admits that it must become environmentally friendly if it wants to win future wars.
What Does This Mean?
Navy ships powered by algae. Landmines that biodegrade. Barracks heated by horse manure. Even lead-free bullets that don’t harm the water table. No, we aren’t joking.
Speaking at the Defence and Security Equipment International event in London, the Chief of General Staff Sir Mark Carleton–Smith admitted that a major future challenge is ,“…to lead the world in the development of military equipment that is not only battle winning but also environmentally sustainable.”
The Chief also spoke about how important it is to be on the right side of the ‘environmental argument’, especially in the eyes of the next generation of potential recruits. But is this possible or are the top generals just donning ecological camouflage because its more socially acceptable?
Can the British Military be khaki and green?
For many, this is perhaps a paradox too far (fighting wars = environmental catastrophe), as the purists among us look through a war-free lens; full of harmony and world peace.
While we remain optimistic, it is certainly possible to envisage how increasing human populations and a rapidly changing climate will apply further pressure to our natural resources. Resulting in tensions between (and within) countries that require a physical presence to resolve such issues.
In the decades to come, are we going to see our armed forces adopting a new purpose, specialising in helping their economies and communities adapt to climate change disasters? This might include managing border disputes, coping with refugees, disseminating aid, coordinating emergency evacuations, conserving key ecosystems and protecting wild fisheries.
Whatever shape our armed forces take in the future, there is no doubting the scale of their impact. The US Military’s carbon bootprint is gigantic. If the US military was a country, it would be a bigger greenhouse gas emitter than 140 other countries, and there are only 195 countries in the world!
Can an organisation that takes life also preserve it? The scale of the British Military is mind boggling, a massive employer that dictates the lifestyles of thousands. Let us know your thoughts!