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Can that which kills, maims, and destroys also be ecofriendly? It may sound like a trick question, but to the U.S. military, the answer is “yes.” The Department of Defense is currently developing more environmentally friendly munitions and weapons, including: less toxic alternatives to lead bullets; missiles that spew less exhaust; and a “paintless” coating for fighter aircraft that will reduce dependence on paints and strippers containing hazardous chemicals.

Reducing its reliance on hazardous materials, it turns out, has several benefits for the military. Green bullets, for example, could save the Army up to $20 million a year and will reduce the problem of lead-contaminated soil at the military’s 1,870 small-arms firing ranges. Close to 700 million rounds of lead-based bullets are fired each year, and removing lead from one range alone can cost several million dollars.

Green weapons also help the DOD comply with an executive order that requires certain federal agencies to cut their toxic releases in half by 2000. The military’s newfound commitment to the planet may even make new allies. “Maybe we shouldn’t belittle this,” concedes Robert Norris, a research analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “They are doing something. It may not be enough fast enough, but they recognize that they can’t do business the way they used to.”

So, is the military turning into a bunch of tree-hugging pacifists? Not a chance. The new weapons are just as deadly. “None of these efforts to green our weapons systems will reduce their performance,” assures Sherri Goodman, deputy undersecretary of defense for environmental security.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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