Warfighting And Biomimicry in the 21st Century

How Does An Army Bombing Range Support Conservation And Protection Of Endangered Species?

Contrary to conventional thinking, the military and conservation efforts are not diametrically opposed. In fact, if we dive beneath surface-level assumptions that the military does not possess sustainable mindset, we will unravel a very different story.

In the United States, military land totals roughly 25 million acres. These are lands that are protected from commercial development and support numerous biomes. Often, these lands are considered to be rare, unique, and — typically — have endangered flora and fauna. Once the 1960 Sikes Act was signed into law, the value of the natural resources on these lands were officially recognized. Subsequently, mandates from the Secretary of Defense followed suit, specifically for the implementation of programs that “[provided] for the conservation and rehabilitation of natural resources on military installations.”

Further, the Sikes Act requires that the installation commanders are to create a comprehensive plan to manage natural resources effectively. Then, in 1997, the Sike Act Improvement Act broadened the scope of natural resource management to provide for the following: more funding, greater scientific research, and greater civilian oversight of existing environmental programs.

Did This Law Work?

Welcome to Townsend, Georgia the home of the Townsend Bombing Range that is ‘owned’ by the U.S. Marine Corps, but used by all branches of the military. Near this forty-mile, coastal strip of land is a ‘wildlife greenway’. Or, in other words, a corridor for conservation that actively works to reduce habitat fragmentation by keeping wildlife zones connected.

Since the 1960 and 1997 Sikes Act and Sikes Act Amendments, respectively, the Department of Defense has contributed $26 million to the $93 million project. The funds are used to prevent developers from breaking up these fertile areas into commercial or residential properties. Further, the Marine’s land management program is actively working to not only bring the frosted flatwood salamander back from the brink of extinction, but to also expand livable areas for the endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers and to protect the water quality in the vicinity of the bombing range. These efforts highlight the positive role the military plays in conservation and sustainability efforts.

Why Are Environmentally Responsible Policies In The Best Interest Of The Military?

Since natural resources are used widely at military installations, there is an inherent national security necessity to protect and sustain. For instance, at the U.S. Air Force Academy, a 6 megawatt solar array was installed with the ultimate goal of generating 100% of the base’s electricity on-site. This example addresses the environmental need to be decrease reliance on coal and also serves a fundamental function of government to provide value to taxpayers. Another example is the development of pulse technology by the Army. This pulse technology increases the life lead-acid batteries by 80% — a remarkable feat. Not only does the increased life of the battery reduce toxic waste from entering the environment as quickly, but it also significantly reduces costs for taxpayers and extends the product lifetimes for the Army.

Another reason for the military to promote sustainability is the availability of unique biomes for training. The Army’s 10th Mountain Division based in Fort Drum, NY, is focused on warfighting in mountainous and arctic conditions. It is also home of the Sustainability Expo that brings together military and contracting personnel with sustainable vendors and innovators. Conservation and sustainability are critical to the Division because of their unique need to mimic the undeveloped mountainous terrain and snowy conditions that soldiers would experience abroad. Simply put, this training environment cannot exist without habitat protection and comprehensive sustainability planning.

Parting Thoughts

Not only are environmental stewardship and sustainable practices in the best interest of the Armed Forces, but the military has aligned their interests with conservation efforts. To be an effective warfighting force in the 21st century, it is critical for military members and all of society to recognize the need for environmental action and its impact on national security and natural resources critical to the military’s mission and success.

Guilt-Free Ice Cream!

Hate Mondays?

Imagine getting ice cream after a long, dreadful Monday. Imagine it being vegan Haagen Dazs ice cream. You know the kind that tastes even better than the rich, melt-in-your mouth, yummy tasting normal ice cream we all crave and love? Better yet, imagine the Haagen Dazs ice cream in a reusable stainless-steel container delivered straight to your house! With that kind of service, who would ever dare to leave the house?

Well, folks, this dream can become a reality in New York City or Paris. By this spring, Loop has teamed up with major consumer product companies such as Tide, Crest, Nestle (producers of Haagen Dazs), The Body Shop, and others to begin one of the largest zero-waste initiatives ever. While recycling is great, it is impossible to keep up with how many times people throw away single-use items.

Loop’s zero-waste solution is to deliver a large range of products that are less harmful to the environment. From toothpaste to cleaning supplies to laundry detergent to ice cream, the Loop will have it covered. Just like Amazon, the items you purchased will be delivered to your doorstep by UPS. However, instead of cardboard boxes, engineers are designing reusable tote bags that are designed for durability. Once you have used up the products, just send it back and Loop will automatically replenish whatever you used. Loop also uses stainless steel containers in the process that are cleaned, sterilized, and then reused for the next customer.

This innovative packaging will have a 50-75% better impact than other conventional alternatives.

"We need foundational changes. Our version of the foundational change is: How do we solve for disposability at the root cause…”

Tom Szaky, CEO and co-founder of TerraCycle

This analysis is conducted by TerraCycle, a major recycling company that works with Loop’s supply chain to find sustainable and cost effective ways of reducing costs and pollution. This first step will create monumental change away from a disposable consumer society to a more eco-conscientious one. Simply put, by Tom Szaky, Loop and other corporate partners are changing the world from “disposable to durable”.

By 2050, plastic will outweigh the fish in our oceans.

Between TerraCycle and Loop’s zero-waste initiative, the top 10 largest plastic polluters are working to transition towards a zero-waste environment by 2025. This is reminiscent of the 1900s when milk bottles were deliver to the doorsteps. Why not go back to a similarly effective model? With Loop, they have designed it in an effective way for the modern world. Profitability and environmental stewardship are not mutually exclusive.

Not only are the 21st century environmental stewardship practices for corporations more targeted and have the ability to be better than ever, but your delicious Haagen Dazs ice cream will stay colder for longer. Be sure to thank that stainless steel double layered container and enjoy! 

Go ahead and reserve a spot to be apart of this growing, guilt-free trend! Get your spoons ready because I know I am! Mmm.

RecyProcity: Get Paid to Recycle

RecyProcity, a New York based firm, will pay you to recycle.

Yes, you read that right. RecyProcity is one-of-a-kind and absolutely revolutionary. Founded by Chris and Gennine Hauser in Walden, New York, this husband and wife duo are passionate about recycling. As avid bottle and can redeemers, they witnessed how difficult it was to recycle. Whether it was the long lines, broken machines or some other trite issue, it was an overall frustrating experience. However, they were still amazed at the money they had saved by recycling.

To them, recycling was common sense. However, they couldn’t understand why only a small percentage of people recycle. Well, in addition to the issues above, they uncovered that an inaccurate social stigma existed around redeeming recyclable materials like bottles and cans. Essentially, they found many believed it “isn’t worth the time and effort”. However, with the extra money in their wallets, they knew this wasn’t true and felt an obligation to get every individual imaginable to participate in the redemption process.

Over the next two years, they did loads of research. Ultimately, they concluded that motivation to separate recyclables stemmed from a reward. The Hauser family decided to take matters into their own hands by aligning the financial incentives with the work. This effort was mean to streamline and improve an inefficient process. This inspired them to create RecyProcity.

“Every school in bottle redemption states can raise THOUSANDS of dollars a year by using RecyProcity. Money for books, field trips, supplies and so much more can be raised, all while teaching our children the importance of caring for the environment.”

While the RecyProcity app will be completed later this spring, functionally, the app does two main things. Firstly, it has a “Drop & Go” function that allows users to drop pre-tallied and labeled bags of recyclable materials at redemption facilities. After the redemption facilities verify and itemize each drop-off, the customers are then paid via direct deposit to a linked account. No machines. No lines. No Waiting. Secondly, an “Exchange” is set-up to allow users to bid on recyclable material or waste with an asking price or a request for a donation. Think about it as the eBay of recyclables. Others on the “Exchange” can then view and negotiate times to pickup the materials and collect the cash from the “Drop & Go” system. Simply put, before anything is thrown away, there is a better chance that recyclables or waste will be re-purposed for a greater social benefit. This saves users of the app both time and money.

In terms of funding, the Hauser family has invested over $250,000 into RecyProcity. They truly believe in the functionality of the app and, honestly, it is hard to not be totally in love with the idea. The duo hired a team of 8 programmers from AppyPie LLC to build the app. With a long list of over 200 redemption and recycling facilities, to include various private sector companies, the will be ready to be front-runners in this emerging market. Within 2 years, RecyProcity will be a household name for those in the multi-billion dollar redemption business. However, their greatest obstacle, they believe, will be the democratization of the industry from the redemption facilities to the hands of the private citizens. They have the “drive and desire to make this happen,” but it is not an easy process — but, it is a worthwhile one.

“We hope to change that and get the households that have never even thought of participating in this… and monetary gain is likely going to do it.”

In conclusion, the demographic that the Hauser family is trying to target are not the “hardcore recyclers” and the “environmental activists” because they will always be proactive when considering environmental implications. Rather, they want to target the average household and show them that their time and efforts are valued.

To learn more, please visit their website by clicking here. Their Twitter account is @apprecyprocity, and their Facebook page is here, and their Instagram is here. We hope you check them out because they will revolutionize this space!