U.S. Military Adopts Green Initiatives

Remember when green evoked granola-munching, Birkenstock-clad activists hanging in Santa Cruz? Now even the Pentagon is getting its green on. The military is eagerly adopting energy-saving initiatives, installing wind turbines and solar-cell systems and investing in alternative fuels like geothermal power, according to the Center for American Progress. Some projects are radically innovative: last year, U.S. military headquarters in Baghdad used generators that run off food waste, shredded documents and ammunition wrappers. The military has also pinpointed alternative energies as critical to cutting costs and beefing up national security. In October 2008, the Army unveiled a Senior Energy Council to fund programs like a solar thermal plant at Fort Irwin, California, which will supply renewable power for the base's grid in case of a terrorist attack or blackout. Of course, the most promising aspect of the military's new green identity is the likelihood that its innovations will trickle down to the civilian sector. From photovoltaic housing to small electric vehicles, the Army is starting to contract with the private sector to develop better energy-conservation systems. Looks like "green" and "tough" go hand in hand.