THE u.S. DEPARTMENT of Defense (DOD) is the largest employing organization in the country. It serves in the management and organization the United States Armed Forces and actively works to maintain environmental responsibility while fostering global security. In the United States, the Department of Defense also manages its lands that are federally-owned. As of the mid-1990s, 39,063 sq. mi. (101,173 sq. km.) of U.S. land were owned by the military and, therefore, the Department of Defense.
In an effort to protect the environment, the Department of Defense began cutting back its energy usage in the mid-1980s. Furthermore, it actively reduced the amount of greenhouse gases emitted due to Department activities, in recognition that greenhouse gases have an impact on climate change. The Department of Defense also assisted with research to develop safe alternatives for ozone-depleting chemicals, such as halon. Additionally, by the mid-1990s the DOD had achieved and passed the goal for limited chemical usage amounts as outlined by the Montreal Protocol. The DOD worked with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reach these goals before the Montreal Protocol's suggested deadline.
In recognition of these extensive efforts to protect the environment, the EPA honored the Department of Defense and Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, with its Best-of-the-Best Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award. This Award was given at the September 25, 1997, EPA Awards Ceremony. In fact, at the awards ceremony, the EPA Administrator Carol Browner announced that the Department of Defense was the leading world organization in terms of quantity of awards from the EPA, for ozone layer protection. At this ceremony, the Department of Defense and other award recipients were named as "Champions of the World'.
In acceptance of the Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award, Secretary Cohen stated that aligning environmental stewardship with national security was a chief priority of the Department of Defense. In fact, out of the 71 awards given at the ceremony, one-fifth went to members of the military community, including military organizations, contractors, and the employees of both. At the awards ceremony, Carol Browner said the following words that outline the EPA's and Department of Defense's stance on global warming; she later stressed that global warming could be fought without economic disaster.
More than 2,000 of the world's foremost experts on the global environment, internationally recognized scientists, are telling us that there is ample evidence that for the first time in history, pollution from human activities is, in fact, changing the Earth's climate. Modern industrial activity, particularly the burning of fossil fuels, coal, petroleum products, is filling the atmosphere with carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases. These gases trap the sun's heat in the atmosphere and cause the steady, gradual warming of the earth's surface temperature. The average surface temperature is slowly rising, and the scientists tell us that there will be devastating consequences to our environment within the next 100 years. They're predicting more frequent, more intense heat waves; thousands more heat-related deaths; severe droughts; floods will become more common; tropical diseases like malaria will expand their range; agricultural production will suffer; the oceans will rise perhaps by several feet over the next century swamping many coastal areas. This will be our legacy to our children if we do not look for some way to begin reducing our emissions of greenhouse gases.
As of the late 1990s, the Department of Defense was researching new aircraft that would use less fuel, while being more energy-efficient. These aircraft were being researched at many institutes, including the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and engine companies in the United States.
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