This Month’s Featured Films: TIDEWATER and THE BURDEN

WHEN: Wednesday, March 14, 7:00-9:00 pm WHERE: Peacock Hall

There are two short documentaries co-featured for March, Presented by Sustainable Rossmoor and Cosponsored by Informed Rossmoor Voices.  Both documentaries focus to varying degrees on the impacts on military preparedness and national security resulting from fossil fuel dependence and climate change driving rising waters. They highlight how our military is responding to climate change and is at the forefront of innovation and providing leadership to our government. These films have been screened at the White House, the Pentagon, the US War College, NATO Headquarters in Belgium, and are in the Annapolis Naval Academy curriculum. Our special invited discussant, U.S. Marine Major Jonathan Morgenstein (more information below), will be at the showing to respond to your questions. This event is free of charge and open to invited quests.

TIDEWATER won the 1st juried prize as the best environmental film at last year’s San Francisco Green Film Festival. It’s a personal story of a community accustomed to hardship and sacrifice through its military service. Hampton Roads, Virginia, a region relatively unknown nationwide, is especially vulnerable to sea level rise and its effects on military readiness and our overall national security. With 14 military installations spread across 17 local jurisdictions, it has our highest concentration of military assets in the country, where 1 in 6 residents are connected to the military. Their homes, schools, hospitals, and families are increasingly struggling to keep up with the effects of rising waters, and the military and all the surrounding municipalities are working toward solutions.  They are coming together to create a new approach to building a resilient America, ready for the environmental realities of the 21st century. If Hampton Roads succeeds, it will strengthen national security, enhance economic prosperity, and create a powerful template for success — a model other regions can use to prepare for the inevitable.

The second film, THE BURDEN,

has been called the most effective communications tool ever made for shifting the debate on clean energy as one of urgent national security. It is the first documentary to tell the story of our dependence on fossil fuels as the greatest long-term national security threat confronting the U.S., and how the military is leading our transition away from oil. Renewables are redefining the meaning of energy independence. The troops are crying out to unleash us from the tether of fossil fuel. But is Congress listening?

Our special invited discussant, U.S. Marine Major Jonathan Morgenstein

will speak about the issues raised in these films and answer audience questions. He is a specialist in national security policy and conflict-resolution training and has focused on Security Sector Reform, Clean Energy, and Human Rights — particularly in the developing world including the Middle East, North Africa, and Latin America. He has appeared on ABC, Al Jazeera, BBC Arabic, CNN, MSNBC, and PBS. He has been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Politico, The Hill, and other publications.

Film trailers:

More about the film discussant:

Major Morgenstein has served over 25 years in the US Marine Reserves, including two tours in Iraq and one in Bosnia. He served as the senior policy adviser for Veterans, Intelligence, Foreign, Armed Services, Homeland Security and Foreign Policy for Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). He helped to establish the first Office of Global Strategic Engagement and also the Office of Rule of Law and International Humanitarian Policy. He served as a human rights advocate for Refugees International in Darfur, and as a High School Social Studies Teacher in both New Hampshire and San Francisco.

He is a member of Operation Free – a coalition of veterans and national security experts who believe oil dependence and climate change pose threats to our national security. They advocate for securing America with clean energy.

Major Morgenstein is the founding President and CEO of Empowerment Solar. Over the past three years, his company has designed and installed distributed, commercial-scale solar electric systems for Palestinian businesses on the West Bank.

Major Morgenstein has been a fellow with the Truman National Security Project since 2006, and served from 2011-2014 as co-Director of Truman’s Middle East/North Africa Experts Group. The Truman National Security Project is a nationwide organization of frontline civilians, veterans, political professionals, and policy experts who conduct education and advocacy work on national security and foreign policy issues in the United States. It’s in this education and advocacy role that he comes to Rossmoor.

IMPORTANT facts FROM “THE BURDEN” FILM (based on 2014 data)

  • The US consumes 1/5 of global oil.
  • 1/5 of US Oil imports pass through the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Sea
  • The price of gas might be $3.40/gal but the true cost is $7-8/gal if cost of US military protection of the world’s “life blood” were factored in.
  • $85 billion is spent by the Pentagon annually to protect vulnerable chokepoints (narrow passes in water ways).
  • For every $1 the price of a barrel of oil goes up, it costs the military $130 million.
  • The Department of Defense consumes 20% of federal budget.
  • “That fuel resupply mission [of oil] came to dominate everything we did.” (quote from the film).
  • The military is the best source of first responders in the world to address global natural disasters: emergency & rescue to recovery every 2 weeks on average.
  • Subsidies (in million dollars annually):  $ 70 Fossil Fuels; $ 17 Ethanol; $12 Renewables
  • “What’s holding us back is that so many of the conservatives, of which I am one, do not see our consumption of oil as a national security issue. If you’ve been in war in the Middle East, as I have, you might see that differently.”  Mayor Greg Ballard, Indianapolis, Lt Col (Ret) from the US Marine Corps.
  • Veterans in Congress:  65% in 1973 vs 19% in 2013
  • “Change is coming. You can either anticipated manage it and shape it, or let it just control you.”  Bob Ingles, (R) Congressman S Carolina (2005-2011) launched the Energy and Enterprise Initiative in 2012 — a nationwide public engagement campaign promoting conservative and free-enterprise solutions to energy and climate challenges.

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