The Green Army

You don’t have to be a member of Greenpeace to be an environmental
activist these days. From homeowners composting their grass
clippings to business leaders promoting eco-friendly manufacturing,
lots of regular folks are pitching in. Who’s next? Believe it or
not, it’s the defense industry.

Under pressure to cut toxic releases in half before the year
2000, the U.S. Department of Defense is hard at work developing
more ‘environmentally friendly’ munitions and weapons, according to
Leora Broydo in Mother
(March/April 1998). The results: nontoxic metal
alternatives to traditional lead bullets, missiles with increased
emissions controls, and exterior coating for fighter planes that
reduces the need for paint strippers and other hazardous

This new approach is ‘greener’ than you may think: The push for
more environmentally friendly weapons can actually save the
government serious money. Using lead-free bullets, for instance,
could cut the amount of money the army spends cleaning
lead-contaminated soil from its 1,870 small-arms firing ranges by
some $20 million a year.

But while the new weapons may help keep the planet healthy,
they’ll still be as lethal as ever. As one Pentagon official puts
it, ‘None of these efforts to green our weapons will reduce their

In-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.