What the Military Can Teach Us About Climate Communication

032814MilitarySolar_SquareA new Pentagon report mentioned in a recent Green Biz article calls climate change a “threat multiplier.” The report also identifies a host of global climate impacts, from resource competition to social tension and political instability. In addition, the military is reportedly preparing adaptation plans and actively making investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and new technologies.
 
The fact that the military is both mitigating and preparing for climate change is a powerful narrative that climate communicators can use to bolster public engagement around climate change. Perhaps the most compelling part of the military’s actions on climate change is the sheer practicality that underlie them. The military isn’t just taking the steps it is in order to mitigate future impacts. Rather, it has chosen this course because they also improve mission effectiveness. More efficient engines have a wider range and better endurance. New battery technologies can reduce the weight soldiers carry. Renewable generation and storage systems are less noisy, hot, and smoky than diesel generators. Climate communicators may consider taking a page from the military’s book and emphasizing how climate solutions can improve everyday Americans’ “mission effectiveness,” too.
 

Can the Military Save Us from Climate Change?

Joel Makower, Chairman and Executive Editor of GreenBiz Group Inc., producer of GreenBiz.com.
 
A pair of reports on climate change crossed my desktop last week that were simply too noteworthy to ignore. It’s not necessarily new information, but it points up that despite a rising tide of facts, we’re still pretty much rearranging the deck chairs.
 
First up, a Pentagon report released earlier this month identifies climate change as a “threat multiplier” and “a critical component of future defense strategy.” The Quadrennial Defense Review (PDF download), as the official document is known, is a periodic assessment by the U.S. Department of Defense of strategic objectives and potential military threats. It describes the United States’ military doctrine — a common frame of reference across the branches of the military.
 
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Image credit: Creative Commons

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