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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Marches into Sustainable Future

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is embarking on a raft of sustainability programs, from oyster habitat restoration to solar power installation.Certain politicians may be having a hard time wrapping their heads around the reality of climate change, but that hasn’t stopped the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  The USACE is rolling right along with sustainability programs that range from an award-winning oyster habitat restoration project to the installation of 1,200 solar powered street lights in Fallujah and a solar parking lot in New Jersey.


The Commanding General of the USACE, Lt. Gen. Robert Van Antwerp, pulled it all together just a couple of weeks ago with a blog post about the USACE and climate change, and he didn’t mince words on the USACE’s attitude about the whole issue: “It’s a very real concern that could have very real consequences all over the world, and we’re on it.”  That can-do spirit has lead to some interesting new partnerships for the USACE with civilian organizations like The Conservation Fund.  Maybe it’s time for the climate change deniers to come out of their shells and join the party — you know, support the U.S. Army, right?  Hello?

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and The Conservation Fund

In what may become a signature partnership, last week USACE and the Conservation Fund signed a memorandum of understanding which basically enlists USACE’s vast engineering resources for projects related to habitat restoration, green stormwater management and flood control, the promotion of effective responses to climate change, water conservation, and public awareness.  It formalizes a years-long collaboration between the two, which already includes major conservation projects in Nebraska, Mississippi, Texas, and Alaska as well as a national wetlands protection training program.  Another huge project was just announced that partners USACE with 60 other agencies and organizations to restore habitats in the New York-New Jersey harbor estuary.

The U.S. Military and Climate Change

In its press release on the Fallujah solar project, the U.S. Army states that “solar power is widely recognized as a method for reducing the reliance on carbon-based energy generation and the resulting greenhouse gasses held responsible for global climate change.”  You’d be hard pressed to find a more clear statement about climate change than that.  Lt. Gen. Van Antwerp, who is a member of the U.N. High Level Panel on Water and Disasters, echoes this no-nonsense approach in his USACE blog and underscores the need for global disaster planning and response related to climate change.  The USACE is preparing for an epic-scale challenge, as are other branches of the military such as the U.S. Navy. They’re all gearing up for a long, hard slog.  As for those other folks on the sidelines, well if they’re not going to help out, they could at least start cheering.

Image: Courtesy of U.S. Army on

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Tina specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.


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