QCAN to Screen Film on Climate Change and U.S. Military

March 2, 2018

On Tuesday, March 27, Quincy Climate Action Network will cosponsor The Age of Consequences, a 2017 documentary film on the threat of climate change as seen by the US military (see the trailer here). The film will screen at 7 p.m. at the Thomas Crane Public Library, 40 Washington Street, Quincy. All are invited, and admission is free. Also sponsoring the film are the library and Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station.

Described by Toronto’s Globe and Mail as “An Inconvenient Truth rides a Humvee,” The Age of Consequences includes footage of numerous generals and admirals, along with former intelligence analysts and civilian Pentagon officials, speaking to the danger that climate change poses for our national security.  Prominently featured is Gen. Gordon Sullivan (ret.), who served as US Army chief of staff and grew up in Quincy.

Echoing Pentagon documents that identify climate change as “an accelerant to instability” and a leading threat to world peace, the officials cite places, from Afghanistan to the Middle East and the Horn of Africa, where changing climate has caused or exacerbated conflicts. In Afghanistan, for instance, drought fueled by climate change has led farmers to cultivate opium because opium poppies need far less water than the country’s traditional staple, wheat. In the Middle East and Somalia, drought has led to mass migration of rural populations into cities, where unemployment and hunger lead to rioting, radicalization, and the overthrow of governments.

Meanwhile, rising seas, another result of climate change, will likely inundate large parts of Bangladesh and other low-lying regions of the world, fueling more mass migration. Closer to home, it threatens to destroy the world’s largest naval installation, in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, where much of the U.S. fleet is based. Already, frequent flooding of local roads is preventing sailors and civilian naval employees from getting to their job sites, according to the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, and forecasts suggest that by 2050 the area around Norfolk Naval Base will experience tidal flooding almost daily.

The need to respond, once every two weeks on average, to climate change-related disasters such as last year’s hurricane in Puerto Rico, also sucks up time and resources.  “How much of that can you do before you start [affecting] other missions?” asks one of the officers who speak on camera in the film.

The Age of Consequences has won glowing reviews from major media including BBC News (“a stark warning”), the New York Times (“compelling and frightening”), and the Hollywood Reporter (“eye-opening”).

In inviting Quincy residents and others to the screening, and especially those who aren’t convinced the climate is changing, David Reich, QCAN’s board chair, said, “Some in our government ignore climate change or call it a hoax. But our military leaders see it as deadly serious–as a threat on a par with terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. Please come and watch the film, and decide for yourself who’s more credible.”