Armed Forces Day
“We face all kinds of threats in our line of work, but few of them truly deserve to be called existential. The climate crisis does. No nation can find lasting security without addressing the climate crisis.”
– U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, April 23, 2021
Today is Armed Forces Day, when we celebrate men and women serving in the U.S. military. Across the country, there will be parades, speeches, and other tributes to our service members.
As we honor them, we should remember that climate change is making their jobs more difficult and dangerous. Our military leaders are warning that we need to embrace climate action now to keep our troops safe. Here are their key points:
- Climate change is causing more conflicts. As climate change disrupts food and water sources, more areas are becoming less habitable – and conflicts over these basic resources are growing. These conflicts often exacerbate human migration and increase terrorism. This will continue to worsen as we move into mid-century and disruptions become more acute.
- It will be more difficult (and expensive) to train soldiers and keep them safe. Climate change makes temperatures higher and water resources less dependable, which makes it harder, and downright dangerous, for our soldiers to operate in many areas of the world. In addition, hotter, drier conditions at many of our training grounds make it dangerous to practice with live ammunition because of the risk of starting wildfires.
- Billions of dollars of damage to military bases here and abroad has been incurred by rising sea levels and extreme weather events made worse by climate change. Even once we protect the bases, the cities near them are also threatened by sea level rise and must be built up so that personnel can get from their homes to the bases when needed.
- Our soldiers and National Guard will be called on more often for humanitarian help both at home and around the world as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires are made more damaging and dangerous by climate change.
“This has to be everybody’s fight,” says Ron Keys, a retired Air Force general. We hope you will watch and share his video explaining why our military cares about climate change.
So please, support our troops and raise your voice. Thanks for helping us keep the conversation going.
The C-Change Conversations Team