No matter what we’re led to believe, the world’s worst polluter is not your cousin who refuses to recycle or that co-worker who drives a gas guzzler or the guy down the block who simply will not try CFL bulbs. “The U.S. Department of Defense is the largest polluter in the world, producing more hazardous waste than the five largest U.S. chemical companies combined,” explains Lucinda Marshall, founder of the Feminist Peace Network. Pesticides, defoliants like Agent Orange, solvents, petroleum, lead, mercury, and depleted uranium are among the many deadly substances used by the military.
What does this mean for us? To start with, it can help illustrate how to best foment a green revolution. As Derrick Jensen reminds us: “Even if every single person in the United States were to change all their light-bulbs to fluorescent, cut the amount they drive in half, recycle half of their household waste, inflate their tire pressure to increase gas mileage, use low flow shower heads and wash clothes in lower temperature water, adjusts their thermostats two degrees up or down depending on the season, and plant a tree, it would result in a one time, 21% reduction in carbon emissions.”
For those of you scoring at home, that’s a one time, 21% reduction in carbon emissions. We compost, we drive hybrids, we bring our own bag to the market but meanwhile, the U.S. military and its fellow polluters—trans-national corporations—treat the planet like it’s a porta-potty…with little or no opposition from the general population. In fact, the military typically enjoys unconditional support even from those who identify as “anti-war.”
Keep this in mind the next time you hear the phrase “war on terror”: Our tax dollars are subsidizing a global eco-terror campaign and all the recycled toilet paper in the world ain’t gonna change that.
In other words, if we don’t want our legacy to be one of inaction and shame, we must create drastic, permanent change very, very soon…because here’s the most inconvenient truth of all: it’s time to embrace a much darker shade of green.