Local group to screen film exploring military's alternative energy shift

Brandon Paykamian • Apr 5, 2018 at 9:22 AM

Since founding the Citizens’ Climate Lobby of Northeast Tennessee in 2014, Frances Lamberts has worked to educate and inform the public about the dangers of climate change and the different ways to confront and change our energy habits in both the public and private sectors. 

For an upcoming event at East Tennessee State University’s Brown Hall Auditorium, the organization will host a screening of “The Burden,” a documentary that Lamberts said outlines the reasons the military has already moved toward alternative energy sources.

The event will be held at 7 p.m. April 18. After the film, Lamberts said retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Richard Devereaux will lead a discussion on the issues and points raised in the film. Sean Collins, director of operations at Revive Energy and an Army veteran from both Iraq and Afghanistan, will also attend the discussion. 

The documentary, according to Lamberts, makes the case that fossil fuel consumption is not only costly for the environment, but also costly in terms of taxpayer expenses and personnel safety.

“The documentary makes a case for why our over-dependence on fossil fuels is a major cost burden for the U.S. military, in terms of service members’ lives being lost and in terms of the (monetary) cost,” she said. “Many members of the military talk about how the operations of the military are affected. For example, 50 percent of all convoys are used just to move fuel. These convoys are moving slowly and they are frequently a target for these IEDs.”

Lamberts said there has been a gradual culture shift in the U.S. military’s attitudes away from over-reliance on fossil fuels. The film, according to Lamberts, explores these changing views among military personnel and ways to move forward with the progress that’s already been made. 

“The U.S. Navy is investing heavily in alternative fuels, and their aim is to also increase energy efficiency significantly so that their bases use less energy. The aim is also to solarize many of the bases, which they have already started to do,” she said. “In many different ways, the military is working very hard in investing in solarizing and reducing fuel consumption.”

The post-film discussion with military personnel will talk about how this recent shift could set a global trend. 

“It’s an issue of operational effectiveness and saving lives,” she said. “From that perspective, the practicality of doing better and being more effective as a military would help us think more about the threats we really face and help our elected officials to act more on this.

“The U.S. military is the biggest institutional consumer of oil, so if they continue to change, that makes a big impact.”

In addition to their upcoming documentary screening, Lamberts said the organization meets monthly and holds various public events in which attendees discuss the topic of climate change.

For more information about the group’s events, visit www.facebook.com/NETNCCL





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