Letter: Military pollutes, too

Posted on 10 February 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Dear Editor:
The Monitor is a great community resource and keeps so many people ‘in the know’. I appreciated the November issue with the focus on local foodies.
A statement attributed to Colin Anderson sticks out. On page 6, 3rd column, middle of the 3rd paragraph, it states “…while letting them know that the biggest polluter is the agriculture industry.”
As an organic proponent from a long line of farmers, I agree that industrial agriculture is a big part of the problem. And, I’m glad that Anderson points to the industry – not the farmers caught in the system. However, I believe that the statement is not accurate. He may mean carbon emission, but consider these findings. In a quick search I found agriculture listed as third in carbon emissions. “In 2010, global greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector totaled 4.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent, up 13 percent over 1990. Agriculture is the third largest contributor to global emissions by sector, following the burning of fossil fuels for power and heat, and transportation.” We can’t afford to ignore fossil fuels used for heat, power and transportation. Source: The EPA website.
However, there is another sector that should be exposed. A huge ‘elephant in the room’ question is, how much does US military pollute?
“In 2017, the US military bought about 269,230 barrels of oil a day and emitted more than 25,000 kilotons of carbon dioxide by burning those fuels. The US Air Force purchased $4.9 billion worth of fuel, and the Navy $2.8 billion, followed by the Army at $947 million and the Marines at $36 million.” Jun 28, 2019 from qz.com.
Another perspective from Science Daily: “The U.S. military’s carbon footprint is enormous and must be confronted in order to have a substantial effect on battling global warming, experts argue. …the US military is one of the largest climate polluters in history, consuming more liquid fuels and emitting more CO2e (carbon-dioxide equivalent) than most countries.” So, perhaps a future issue on carbon use in the neighborhood and what we can do about it. Or, exposing pollution and cleaning it up.
Thanks for listening!
Donna Goodlaxson

Discovery Club