Texas Matters: Combat In Climate Change, Water For Forgotten Texans & Can Port A Stay Wild? | Texas Public Radio

Texas Matters: Combat In Climate Change, Water For Forgotten Texans & Can Port A Stay Wild?

Jul 27, 2019

Credit NASA

The world’s rising heat is creating a serious problem for the United States Military. Despite the fact that the commander in chief, President Donald Trump, calls climate change a hoax – the Pentagon sees it differently. The U.S. top military brass calls climate change as serious threat to national security.

The Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community, an annual report on security threats to U.S. interests, concludes that “global environmental and ecological degradation, as well as climate change, are likely to fuel competition for resources, economic distress, and social discontent through 2019 and beyond.”

Responding to a Congressional order, the Defense Department issued a report in January that details how climate change will impact the Defense Department missions, operational plans, and installations.

But there is another problem for the military with climate change, U.S troops will be forced to contend with the hotter – harsher conditions on the battlefield.  And training for those conditions is pushing service men and women beyond their physical limits.   

In 2008 there were 1,766 cases of heat stroke or heat exhaustion diagnosed among active-duty service members, according to military data – reported by Inside Climate News.

By 2018 that figure had climbed to 2,792, an increase of almost 60 percent over the decade.

Health impacts from heat have already cost the military as much as nearly $1 billion from 2008 to 2018 in lost work, retraining and medical care.

The warming of the planet "will affect the Department of Defense's ability to defend the nation and poses immediate risks to U.S. national security," a recent Department of Defense report said.

David Hasemyer is a staff reporter for Inside Climate News. His story is “U.S. Soldiers Falling Ill, Dying In the Heat as Climate Warms.”

Prop 2 – Water For Forgotten Texans

This week numbers one to ten were pulled from a brown felt cowboy hat and that was how the Texas Secretary of State's office decided the ballot places for the ten proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution. These were passed in the recent legislative session, but they also require voter approval. Come November you’ll have your say.

Prop 4 will likely get the most attention – it would prohibit the imposition of an individual income tax.

There are other props that range from providing more funding for cancer research, funding for state parks and flood infrastructure.

But some in Texas will be watching closely Prop 2.

That is a proposal to establish the Economically Distressed Areas Program, which provides financial assistance for projects to develop water and wastewater services in economically distressed areas where those services don’t meet minimum state standards.

State Representative Mary Gonzalez of El Paso has been a leader in getting this issue to the ballot.

Keep Port A Wild

If you go for your summer trip to the Texas coastal town of Port Arkansans, then you will likely see plenty of signs and flags that say "Keep Her Wild." That's the slogan Port A residents have adopted in their campaign to fight the multiple industrial projects being developed for the area. Those residents say these projects will ruin the Port A that they and many others in Texas love. And it could be an ecological disaster for the Gulf of Mexico.

Tammy King is a board member of the Port Aransas Conservancy and a member of Keep Her Wild. They are fighting a number of proposed projects that will industrialize ecologically sensitive areas around Port A.