LETTER: Patriotism, Climate Change and National Security

By Beacon Staff

Having recently celebrated Independence Day and the events that brought about the birth of our nation, let us continue to reflect upon the true meaning of patriotism and the responsibility that citizenship entails. The United States of America – and the planet – is facing an unprecedented crisis of a magnitude that would be unimaginable to the Founding Fathers.

In the spirit that brought us the Declaration of Independence, we must, as a nation, declare our independence from those sources of energy that will destroy us in the end. I say this not only in regard to the use of finite resources like oil and coal, but also from the effects of this dirty energy addiction on U.S. national security, including international terrorism. According to a recent Department of Defense-sponsored article co-authored by Commander Herbert E. Carmen, U.S. Navy, Christine Parthemore, and Will Rogers of the Center for New American Security, “analysts expect changes such as extreme drought, more frequent heat waves, desertification, flooding and extreme weather events. The combined impact of these effects will intertwine with existing political, social, cultural and economic trends, with significant implications for U.S. interests worldwide.” Thus, our military will be asked to intervene even more frequently in places like the Middle East and Africa, or, most recently, the Gulf of Mexico, to mitigate the consequences of unbridled dirty energy usage. This means more expenditures, more deployments, and more casualties for the service men and women called upon to put boots on the ground for these global operations in defense of U.S. national interests.

So, what can you as an American citizen do to curtail our dirty energy addiction and bring about a more secure nation? For starters, you can press Congress – including Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester and Rep. Denny Rehberg – to pass a comprehensive energy bill that addresses the key elements of clean energy utilization and let them know that, as a patriot, you feel compelled to speak out in favor of legislation that takes the necessary steps to mitigate climate change and make our nation more secure. You can also vote – religiously – thereby becoming involved in the process that sees these changes through. Lastly, you can start taking personal responsibility for your actions by reassessing your own energy consumption practices and how it impacts our nation. These are the hallmarks of a citizen who understands that what we do as individuals affects the nation as a whole and therefore acts accordingly. If you truly want to support the troops and the nation, be a true patriot and do that which benefits the greater good for our nation, and, ultimately, the planet as a whole.

Sgt. Maj. Michael Jarnevic, U.S. Army Reserve