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  • This video is sponsored by Brilliant.

  • It's time to talk about the elephant in the room. The single most polluting industry

  • in the world. The military. Specifically, the U.S. military, because the U.S. war machine

  • currently has a yearly budget of over $700 billion, which dwarfs the military spending

  • of the next 8 countries combined in 2018. The U.S. military is a behemoth, and the environmental

  • consequences of its massive size and global presence are equally immense. Indeed, if the

  • American military was a country it would rank 47th, right in between Peru and Portugal,

  • for highest global greenhouse gas emissions, and that's only based on military fuel use.

  • Despite this, we're very rarely exposed to the idea of the U.S. military-industrial

  • complex as a possible contributor to climate change. Instead, individual actions, like

  • taking shorter showers or composting food waste, seem to be the primary push of the

  • environmental movement. So the big question is: what are the consequences of this massive

  • U.S. military machine? And ultimately, what are the connections between militarism and

  • climate change?

  • The environmental cost of the U.S. military is so large because the country has continuously

  • piled money into the Department of Defence ever since the 1980s Reagan Era push for military

  • spending transformed the world's biggest lender into the biggest debtor. A recently

  • approved defense budget of $738 billion for the 2020 fiscal year only cements this lust

  • for U.S. military growth around the globe. And to be clear, the U.S. military is a global

  • entity. It has established roughly 800 military bases in 80 countries around the world according

  • to David Vine, author of Base Nation. To put that in perspective, all other countries combined

  • have established roughly 70 foreign bases. So, the U.S. military is gargantuan, and to

  • fuel that machine, they need, well, fuel. From 2001 to 2017, the U.S. military emitted

  • an estimated 1.2 billion metric tons of CO2 equivalent according to the Watson Institute

  • for International and Public Affairs. That's the same as putting an additional 257 million

  • cars, or roughly the current amount of passenger cars currently in operation, on the road in

  • the U.S. for a whole year. From Humvees running at 4 miles per gallon, or gas-guzzling F-22

  • fighter jets, the machines of war that the Department of Defense purchases and maintains

  • require a lot of fuel. In the realm of 85 million barrels of fuel in 2017. But the U.S.

  • military pollution doesn't stop and end at emissions. The military has blazed a sharp

  • trail of environmental and chemical pollution across the world, racking up 39,000 contaminated

  • sites according to a Newsweek interview with the former head of environmental programs

  • at the Pentagon. 143 of the Superfund sites in the United States are military bases, and

  • 900 of the 1344 total sites are areas that previously supported military needs according

  • to the same Newsweek interview. At Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, for example, the drinking

  • water servicing over 170,000 people is so polluted with cancer-causing chemical solvents

  • like trichloroethylene and perchloroethylene that it's been calledthe worst example

  • of water contamination this world has ever seen.” In short, the U.S. military has a

  • long track record of pollution and emissions that often is tacitly accepted by otherwise

  • environmentally-minded people in the name of national defense and military preparedness.

  • But let's be clear here, the majority of the wars the U.S. has fought, and the massive

  • military structure it's built has rarely been in the name of peace or safety. More

  • often than not it's centered around profit and control. The United States has a long

  • history of using military power to assert dominance over potentially strategic or profitable

  • entities. Like in Panama in 1989, when George H. W. Bush deployed 25,000 troops to oust

  • the military leader and previous CIAasset,” General Noriega, who began acting against

  • U.S. interests. In Noriega's stead, Bush propped up Guillermo Endara, who was much

  • more loyal to the U.S. global agenda and willing to allow the U.S. to maintain control over

  • the Panama Canal. Or in 1973 when the United States supported a coup to overthrow democratically-elected

  • Chilean socialist leader Salvador Allende, replacing him with ruthless dictator Augusto

  • Pinochet, who in the months following his rise to power imprisoned, tortured and killed

  • thousands of supposed leftist-sympathizers in order to establish an economy that a New

  • York Times reporter called “a banker's delight.” Or the U.S. backed indiscriminate

  • slaughter of East Timorese by Indonesian forces, or the multi-decade war razing Iraq to the

  • ground to protect the flow of fuel from Middle Eastern oil fields into American cars. The

  • same oil fields, which Vice President Dick Cheney's former company, Halliburton, secured

  • a noncompetitive contract for up to seven billion dollars to rebuild. The list drags

  • on. The point here is this: in many cases, the U.S. military has guzzled millions of

  • barrels of fuel and killed thousands to establish and maintain control of profitable international

  • interests. One of the most decorated marines in U.S. history, Major General Smedley Butler

  • rams this reality home in his book, War is a Racket: “I spent 33 years and four months

  • in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high-class

  • muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer,

  • a gangster for capitalism.”

  • Ironically, the Department of Defence has released reports characterizing climate change

  • as a security risk, but of course, their solution is not to scale back their own emissions-intensive

  • operations but instead it's doing more of the same. So, when we're trying to understand

  • the connections between environmentalism and demilitarization, we have to recognize a simple

  • reality: War is always an environmental hazard. There is no such thing as a responsible military

  • or green war. It is, in fact, irresponsible to suggest that it's possible togreen

  • the military,” as Elizabeth Warren has proposed. Though it is admirable to try to find solutions

  • within a corrupt and irredeemable system, the 2018 IPCC report has made clear that we

  • have no time for slow change, and small reforms prevent us from focusing on and investing

  • in the larger, more radical changes that need to happen. Demilitarization is a lofty goal;

  • in the United States, it is not unreasonable to feel despair about the possibility of ever

  • demilitarizing a country with such a fetish for violence and control. But dire circumstances

  • require radical solutions. Keep in mind that even if the current military budget is slashed

  • in half, the U.S. would still spend more than double the amount China does. So, the military-industrial

  • complex is beyond bloated. And as we look towards a future marked by climate change,

  • to me it's clear where taxpayer money needs to go. If the United States can pour $4.79

  • trillion into the wars in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, they certainly can extract themselves

  • from a fossil-fuel centric economy. The money doesn't need to be piled into the over-polluting

  • and violent machine that is the U.S. military, it instead needs to be invested in strong,

  • publically-favored initiatives like the Green New Deal, which would supply dignified low-carbon

  • jobs to thousands, reinvest in the U.S.'s crumbling infrastructure, and establish an

  • economy based around care.

  • The gift-giving season is upon us, and usually that means a lot of material-centric presents

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  • less of an impact. Luckily Brilliant has made it easy this year. You can now give the gift

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  • Hey Everyone! Charlie here. Thanks for making it all the way to the end of the video. If

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B1 US military fuel environmental brilliant war climate change

The true cost of the military-industrial complex.

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    joey joey posted on 2021/06/12
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