Operation Free, a national energy independence advocacy campaign run by veterans, wants those who have never served on active duty in the U.S. armed forces (roughly 99.5% of Americans) to be educated on the military’s progress with energy efficiency and renewables.
This “coalition of veterans” has spent several years advocating for energyM independence. Long-time member Robin Eckstein wants the average American to know that energy independence for the military is “really not a partisan issue.” Eckstein would like to see a bigger push for clean energy in her home state of Wisconsin for one.
“When you think national security issues, you think maybe you can’t do anything about them. But you can,” she told the Wisconsin Radio Network. “Recognizing that moving to clean renewable energy here in Wisconsin is just plain good for us. We get most of our energy from outside Wisconsin, so it’s just going to shore up jobs here.”
Marine Colonel Mark Mykelby joined Eckstein in speaking to local politicians and others in Wisconsin about Operation Free’s mission.
“For those of us in the military, we don’t ever do anything for a political reason,” Mykelby said. “…It can cost thousands of dollars for a gallon of gas in a tactical environment. Just having to get the stuff to the theater, it’s immensely cumbersome. It’s a crazy equation: you spend a lot more gas to get the gas, just so you can operate.”
According to Mykelby, America needs to lead the charge on the “global challenge” that is sustainability.
“In World War II it was fascism, in the Cold War it was communism, now its global unsubstantiality,” he said. “We just don’t have the coherent policy to make it happen.”
The United States Army is committed to producing one gigawatt of renewable energy–enough to power 250,000 homes–as an increased national security measure. Both the Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy are committed to cutting their fossil fuel consumption by 50 percent over the next eight years, and the Air Force is making a concerted effort to lower energy costs–and save taxpayer money–by reducing demand and increasing the use of alternative energy.