Saturday 21 Jul 2018 | 04:30 | SYDNEY
Saturday 21 Jul 2018 | 04:30 | SYDNEY

How green was my Swat Valley

24 June 2009 13:50

People don’t usually link counter-insurgency efforts with the colour green — unless it's a secondary reference to its status within the Islamic faith. But there are increasing examples of the military applying ‘green’ energy in the field, which is not just ecologically sound, but also offers operational benefits.

Most people have an idea of the propensity of the average soldier to solve an incredible range of problems with ‘a couple of cans and two bits of string’. In part this is a reaction to the perennial and ubiquitous problems of materiel resupply; but it’s also a reflection of what we call ‘Digger ingenuity’, and our American friends call (as only they could) a ‘field expedient’. 

Well, our Pakistani comrades are providing illuminating examples of not only soldier ingenuity, but also an adaptiveness to sustainable technology. The Financial Times reports how, in the depths of their campaign against Taliban militants in and around the Swat Valley near the North-West frontier (itself a compelling account), Pakistani soldiers are using solar PV cells to support their ‘tactics, techniques and procedures’ — in particular, for anti-infiltration lighting. 

The much harder step will be to broaden such energy use for wider benefit. I wonder who else will ‘switch on’ soon?

Photo by Flickr user eastpole, used under a Creative Commons license.