The US Military: On the Leading Edge Again

January 27, 2012

The new George Lucas movie “Red Tails” is doing unexpectedly boffo box office, much to the chagrin of Hollywood observers who predicted that the lack of a big name white star in the cast would doom the film to a niche audience.

MTV Movie News:

Lucas appeared on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” earlier this month and claimed that major studios showed no interest in the film when he went to pitch it.

“It’s because it’s an all-black movie,” he said. “There’s no major white roles in it at all. It’s one of the first all-black action pictures ever made.”

“We’ve come a long way from when Martin was marching in the streets and getting rocks thrown at him. We’ve come a very, very long way,” Ne-Yo said. “However, even with that being said, we got a long way to go. As a black person, period, we’re kinda constantly in a state of proving, which is something that I came to wraps with a long time ago.”

Despite the studios’ lack of interest in the film, Ne-Yo decided to let the success of “Red Tails” speak for itself. “At the end of the day, you complain about it, or you prove them wrong,” he said. “I feel like this was a matter of just proving them wrong.”

Why is this relevant?

Because today, the military is once again leading the nation in a critically important way, by being early adopters of renewable technology that is saving money, and soldiers lives, by decreasing reliance on fossil fuels.  President Obama doubled down on this theme in his State of the Union address. 

Another major point President Obama stated in his speech is that the U.S. Department of Defense, the world’s largest consumer of energy, will make one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history, with the Navy purchasing enough capacity to power a quarter of a million homes a year. He did not offer any specifics, but it is possible that he is setting a more aggressive renewable portfolio standard for the military, which currently is set at 25 percent of its power consumed to be derived from renewable energy sources by 2025.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has a tradition of accelerating technological advancements, serving as early adopters and impacting the broader commercial market in such areas as aviation, computing and GPS. For the past several years, the DoD has been playing this same role in the renewable energy space.

The spiritual heirs of the Bull Connor racists who resisted integration of the military are today’s tea-party-troglodyte climate deniers.  A little googling will show the current tea party line is “Clean energy is being Shoved Down the Military’s Throat”. (always the sexual innuendo – its a template that speaks volumes)

They are being pushed back and proved wrong on a daily basis, but history shows ignorance has never ceded  ground without a fight. It won’t happen unless all of us are willing to let our voices be heard above the small, bigoted and backward minority.

8 Responses to “The US Military: On the Leading Edge Again”

  1. prokaryotes Says:

    Can we get some more reviews?

    Carbon Nation – Official Trailer [HD]

    Telling the Energy Story through Film: the Making of Carbon Nation

  2. prokaryotes Says:

    Looking at the situation with the lack of recent climate change movies

    I think it is time that the military makes their own movie. About combating climate change, about renewable energy, about national security, about the future…

  3. Alteredstory Says:

    In addition to being a good thing on its own, the work that the Pentagon has been doing on this front has been useful to me in my own efforts in a somewhat backwards way. I’m connected to the Quaker community on the American Northeast, and they have a long history of working against war. It’s been useful, in trying to mobilize this group of people, to be able to point out to them that the military is ahead of them, as a group, on climate action.

    Always gets a rise!

  4. Martin Lack Says:

    I did not like the reference to US Jets running on Biofuels. Unless they are running on used cooking oil, this is not environmentally sustainable. Biogas/Energy from Waste (including excrement) is fine, so would be growing algae in the desert, but we should not be encouraging the replacement of good agricultural practice with monoculture enterprises like palm oil plantations.

    America’s recent strategy of investing in Biofuels has been one of the reasons wholesale cereal prices have got so high: Climate change will only exacerbate an already existing shortage of good agricultural land. Therefore, we should not be growing crops on it and then turning them into fuel.

    Of course, many will argue that we should eat the produce (rather than feed it to animals and eat them instead). That debate is one we need not have just yet. However, what we should not be doing is burning the produce to drive machinery.

    • Alteredstory Says:

      Martin – a lot of biofuels nowadays don’t come from grains. Jet fuel in particular comes, I believe, either from sugar or from algae – not corn.

      I agree that biofuels should not be the whole of our response, but they should be PART of it, especially as we continue to develop our indoor farming techniques. Most of THAT is being done in Europe at the moment, but I think it will expand, since it provides a convenient way to guard against an increasingly chaotic climate.

      Biofuels are only a problem if nothing changes in how we do agriculture, and if THAT is the case, then we’re kinda screwed anyway.

    • “The Americans will always do the right thing… after they’ve exhausted all the alternatives.” — Winston Churchill

      We’re still working through “alternatives”. However, we stopped subsidizing corn ethanol. There are many different research intensive, heavily capitalized early stage companies working on algae. Even the anti-climate-science promoting evil empire (they know better) is developing algae.

  5. Martin Lack Says:

    I am very pleased to find that my criticism of biofuels is out-of-date. Thanks for the education.

  6. Having government support basic research is one thing, but having government pick winners or mandate “X%” of renewables is almost guaranteed to cost more than legislating a carbon tax/carbon trading and letting the free markets choose the best way.

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