“We will use our buying power to drive change in industry”

Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 12, 2022, by Noreen Wise, Founder & CEO of Gallant Gold Media, and author; Image Credit: AdobeStock

The formidable US Army, with its massive buying power, arrived on the climate action battlefield this week, armed with its Army Climate Strategy (ACS) and ready for rapid execution. The ACS acknowledges that climate change has destabilized the world, and that the army must move swiftly to stay out in front of our adversaries who are intent on jockeying for an advantage in a climate-altered world.

“The Army will lead by example. We will tap into the creativity, capabilities, and commitment of Army professionals operating on every continent. We will use our buying power to drive change in industry and leverage best practices from many sources. We will engage with local communities and foreign partners to ensure mutual readiness and security in a rapidly changing environment.”

Christine E. Wormuth, Secretary of the Army, in a foreword to the United States Army Climate Strategy (ACS)

Current climate impacts will continue to disrupt the US Army’s readiness, as it combats existing climate change crises that threaten America’s security. The Army’s objective is to build on the momentum it has already established to achieve Army-wide unity with the implementation of the ACS across its 130 Army installations worldwide. The US Army’s long history of excelling at the convergence of modernization and readiness to create a superior armed forces, is woven into the ACS which has outlined three Lines of Effort (LOE):

LOE 1: Installations. Strategic Outcome: enhance resilience and sustainability by adapting infrastructure and natural environments to climate change risks, securing access to training and testing lands into the future, and mitigating GHG emissions.

LOE 2: Acquisitions & Logistics. Strategic Outcome: increase operational capability while reducing sustainment demand and strengthening climate resilience.

LOE 3: Training. Strategic Outcome: prepare a force that is ready to operate in a climate-altered world. 

A complete list of intermediate objectives for each of the three LOEs is outlined in the ACS. The following are the top highlights with the corresponding year for deliverables. 

LOE 1Installations:

  • Install a microgrid on every installation by 2035
  • Achieve on-site carbon pollution-free power generation for Army critical missions on all installations by 2040 
  • Provide 100% carbon-pollution-free electricity for Army installations’ needs by 2030 
  • Achieve 50% reduction in GHG emissions from all Army buildings by 2032, from a 2005 baseline
  • Field an all-electric light-duty non-tactical vehicle fleet by 2027
  • Field an all-electric non-tactical vehicle fleet by 2035

An all-electric fleet of light-duty non-tactical vehicles within 5 years is an example of the kind of urgency climate scientists have been warning is needed to stay below 1.5ºC. The volume of these Army light-duty non-tactical  EVs will help drive down EV prices for American consumers as we too transition to electric vehicles within the same 5 years. A massive solar panel investment for microgrid installations is an advantageous accelerator that will drive down the cost of solar for consumers. These hard commitments, with dates and quantities, will drive change. 

LOE 2, Acquisitions & Logistics:

  • Analyze all Army supply chain Tier 1 sources and contracts for climate change risks and vulnerabilities by 2025
  • Develop plans, policies, and contracts to ensure Army supply chain resilience by 2028
  • Significantly reduce operational energy and water use by 2035
  • Field purpose-built hybrid-drive tactical vehicles by 2035 and fully electric tactical vehicles by 2050

The army acknowledges that in order to have the future competitive advantage, it must strengthen its operational capabilities as quickly as possible. The LOE 2 list has 12 objectives, most of which have deliverable dates of 2050, which is too far away to accurately evaluate how each will impact consumer prices, if at all. American corporations should follow the Army’s supply chain resiliency strategies in order to navigate around the existing supply chain challenges in consumer markets. The ACS stresses that “the Army sees great promise for sustainment demand reduction through advanced technology, future contingency basing, clean procurement, and resilient supply chains.”

LOE 3, Training:

  • Beginning in 2024, publish climate change lessons and best practices every two years
  • Update Army programs of instruction for leader development and workforce training to incorporate climate change topics no later than 2028
  • Ensure that all Army operational and strategic exercises and simulations consider climate change risks and threats by 2028
  • Develop ways to reduce direct GHG emissions resulting from Army individual and collective training by 2028

The ACS emphasizes that it must simultaneously prepare “a force that is ready to operate in a climate-altered world” while “maintaining the ability to win in combat.” It will have to overhaul training practices to cut its CO2 emissions. Additionally, the Army is evaluating what and how it conducts all of its training. Not only the training of its people and units, but also of its headquarters.

It would be very advantageous for US corporations and cities to review the Army’s Climate Strategy. The organizational structure, LOEs and objectives, as well as the Army’s determined speed, would benefit all. Sharing a climate strategy template can be a starting point for others and can be modified to align with key corporate or government objectives. Ultimately, everyone should be doing the exact same thing at the exact same time. If each and every business, corporation, and city in the US was implementing their climate strategies/climate action plans simultaneously, we’d create country-wide unity and many of the obstacles slowing us down would disappear.

© Copyright 2022. ALL Rights Reserved.

“This is not about saving our planet, it’s about saving ourselves…The truth is, with or without us, the natural world will rebuild.”
—Sir David Attenborough, A Life On Our Planet

Alarming Findings | Are We Inhaling Nanoplastics & What About Our Food?

Washington (GGM) Analysis | January 31, 2022, by Noreen Wise, Founder & CEO of Gallant Gold Media, and author; Image Credit: AdobeStock

Nanoplastic is a recently discovered novel hazard that potentially undermines human health the same way it negatively impacts animal and wildlife health, resulting in infertility, inflammation and cancer. The possible nanoplastic toxicological threat for humans is quickly being propelled to the forefront of our minds, following targeted research on the alarming plastic crisis that has reached the farthest corners of the earth. 

Nanoplastics are so tiny they’re invisible to the human eye, and can travel in the air more than a thousand miles. They are easily inhaled, especially in cities, which is of major concern to scientists. In the Greenland ice core, scientists were shocked to find nanoplastics that dated as far back as 1965; 25% of these nanoplastics were from automobile tires, which further underscores the harm to those living in cities.

In the Swiss Alps, scientists found nanoplastics that they determined traveled through the air from cities approximately 200 kilometers (124 miles) away. Of the more than 43 trillion nanoplastic particles that scientists calculated land in Switzerland each year, some came from as far away as the Atlantic Ocean 2000 km (1,240 miles) away.

The difference between nanoplastics and microplastics is significant and the two words should not be interchanged. 

  • Microplastics – small plastic bits less than 5 mm (0.2 inches in diameter) 
  • Nanoplastics – infinitesimal specs of plastic with diameters less than 0.001 mm

Recent findings by the American Chemical Society (ACS) identified plastic packaging as the main source of the microplastics found in our food, bottled water, soda, and salt. “However, a thorough discussion of this topic is not possible when the notions of both microplastics and nanoplastics are combined. To date, there are no methods available to analyze nanoplastics in food, and only the presence of microplastics has been demonstrated through the methods available,” asserted the authors of the report, Alexandra tee Halle and Jean Francois Ghiglione.

“[Our] viewpoint highlights the complex environmental behavior and fate of nanoplastics that are distinct from microplastic particles. We advocate that the environmental fate and behavior of different plastic particle sizes are so unique, they should not be described together but researched and described independently.”

American Chemical Society

Researchers have determined that we eat approximately 100 bits of microplastic with every meal, which amounts to 1 credit card per week and 52 credit cards a year. Considering the reality that plastic contains toxic chemicals, it’s natural to instinctively choose to avoid food packaged in plastic in the likelihood microplastics and nanoplastics are proven conclusively to be toxic.

From the UNEP Published Scientific Assessment of Plastic Pollution:

“As plastics break down they transfer microplastics, synthetic and cellulosic microfibres, toxic chemicals, metals and micropollutants into waters, sediments, and eventually marine food chains. For humans, this can lead to hormonal changes, developmental disorders, reproductive abnormalities and cancer. Whenever marine species are people’s main source of food, serious threats are posted by human uptake of microplastics via seafood. Plastics are also ingested through drinks and even common salt; they penetrate the skin and are inhaled when suspended in the air. Mental health may be affected by the knowledge that sea turtles, whales, dolphins and many seabirds – which have cultural importance for various communities – are at risk.”

At the ACS Fall 2020 Virtual Meeting & Expo during Covid, there were several graduate student presenters from the lab of Rolf Halden, PhD, at Arizona State University. Their names are Charles Rolsky and Varun Kelkar.

“You can find plastics contaminating the environment at virtually every location on the globe, and in a few short decades, we’ve gone from seeing plastic as a wonderful benefit to considering it a threat…There’s evidence that plastic is making its way into our bodies, but very few studies have looked for it there.”

Charles Rolsky, August 17, 2020

Research into whether or not nanoplastics undermines the health and well-being of animal and wildlife found that nanoplastic exposure resulted in cancer, inflammation and infertility in the species tested. At the time of the presentation to the American Chemical Society, Rolsky and Kelkar had discovered that nonoplastics do travel through our human GI tracks. They then speculated about whether nanoplastics accumulated in our organs.

To study this, Rolsky and Kelkar collaborated with Diego Mastroeni, PhD. They examined 47 samples from the four organs most likely to be exposed to infinitesimal plastic particles— lungs, kidney, spleen and liver — and created a testing procedure with Raman spectrometry, as well as an online computer program using a standardized format so that researchers everywhere could report their results. Dr. Halden remarked that “this shared resource will help build a plastic exposure database so that we can compare exposures in organs and groups of people over time and geographic space.”

These new findings about nanoplastic toxins in the air are of particular importance with global warming now at 1.2ºC. Rain bombs, flooding, hurricanes, and tornadoes are consistently spreading the dangerous chemicals found in lawn fertilizers, hazardous waste sites, chemical plants, and superfund sites. In the heat, these chemicals vaporize and we inhale them regularly. And now we learn that we have invisible nanoplastics to worry about, too. 

Let’s take these new warnings very seriously. I plan to wear my face mask outdoors all the time from now on, especially in cities.  

© Copyright 2018 – 2022. ALL Rights Reserved.

“This is not about saving our planet, it’s about saving ourselves…The truth is, with or without us, the natural world will rebuild.”
—Sir David Attenborough, A Life On Our Planet
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