The Department of the Air Force is commemorating the 51st anniversary of Earth Day April 22 by encouraging Airmen, Guardians, civilian employees and their families to help the enterprise play an active role in becoming an environmental steward.
This year’s theme, “Do Your Part – Protect the Earth, Support the Mission,” highlights the Defense Department’s commitment to help tackle the climate crisis, which senior leaders believe is key to defending the nation.
“Earth Day offers the chance to reflect on what we’re doing to care for the planet,” said Acting Secretary of the Air Force John P. Roth. “The Air and Space Forces, through efforts from climate-friendly building updates to exploring clean energy sources, are committed to President Joe Biden’s and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s charge to tackle the climate crisis.”
As one of the most prominent energy consumers in the U.S. government in terms of fuel, the Department of the Air Force is reducing its footprint and innovating new technology by funding lucrative renewable energy projects and energy-saving performance contracts.
For instance, the Jigsaw, an innovative software to streamline aerial refueling scheduling, helped reduce fuel use by 180,000 gallons weekly Air Force-wide in 2020.
The Department of the Air Force has also made major advancements in its conservation goals, which ultimately helps protect the nation’s resources.
In fiscal year 2020, the Department of the Air Force collaborated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to provide a habitat for 123 threatened and endangered species on 54 installations. The Department of the Air Force also helps protect more than 598,000 acres of forested landscapes.
While the enterprise has made significant strides in becoming an environmental steward, it takes the creative minds of Airmen and Guardians to ensure it remains that way.
“The Air Force is committed to being a good steward of our earth,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr. “When it comes to climate, our Airmen should continue to approach challenges with an innovative mindset – finding ways to create more resilient bases and reduce emissions in our operations.”
Small, environmentally conscious acts Airmen, Guardians, civilian employees and their families can implement in their daily lives that can lead to notable outcomes include:
• Educating peers on conservation activities in local communities
• Participating in sustainable practices at home like composting, recycling and energy saving
• Supporting community gardens, planting trees and visiting local greenhouses
• Making efforts to clean up the natural environment in local communities
“As members of the Space Force, we play a vital role in preserving the long-term sustainability of the earth and the space domain we all share,” said Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond. “We are committed to being great stewards as we protect and defend our nation from above.”