My mother taught me “every little bit counts.” Everything each of us does in this world can improve our life and in turn, the lives of others. The climate change stage is growing in leaps and bounds and while we can do our parts individually, the global effects of warming and rising seas, extreme weather events and human and natural disasters will affect our men and women in combat.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel addressed a conference of military leaders in Peru as the Pentagon laid out plans for what could be the military’s next global war: climate change.The report is clear and irrefutable as Secretary Hagel says, “Climate change is a ‘threat multiplier’ because it has the potential to exacerbate many of the challenges we already confront today – from infectious disease to armed insurgencies – and to produce new challenges in the future.”
Now, the men and women at 7000 outposts and bases worldwide are putting plans in place to battle climate change. Since climate change is the ultimate in the ‘domino effect,’ the chain-reaction that includes affects on food and water supplies will indeed lead to more unrest in regions where tenses have been stretched for decades or generations.
The economy of climate change and the military will mean more money needed -for who knows how long – to fight these battles as societies become more unstable. What happens when an extreme storm takes out a coastal U.S. military base and military training facilities, supplies and equipment are lost and damaged? How will U.S. forces be able to assist in undeveloped nations where tens of thousands are herded to tent cities where famine reigns while civil unrest escalates? How will the troops survive?
Questions mount as leaders from the top and down the ranks realize that climate change effects all segments – government, business, and communities. And it will take the ultimate in collaboration and action to protect this and future generations.