It already looks like US President-elect Donald Trump's administration will be very bad for the environment. He’s basically picking the worst person possible to run every agency that is charged with protecting the Earth. But there’s one agency he’ll never gut — the Department of Defence. And it has a wacky plan to do some good with bullets that biodegrade and spread life.
The DoD currently has an open call posted to the Small Business Innovation Research program’s website. It’s seeking proposals for an idea that’s almost Buddhist in its intended cycle of death begetting life. The accepted applicant would be tasked with creating a bullet that would be used on the U.S. Army’s training grounds around the world. This innovative bullet needs to fire in the normal way and when it’s left behind it should biodegrade and plant a specially engineered seed.
According to the open call, the Army goes through hundreds of thousands of training rounds and this has become a problem. These rounds take hundreds of years to biodegrade and “might have the potential to corrode and pollute the soil and nearby water.” The bullets also could be eaten by animals, while they also look unseemly when encountered by civilians.
The Army has identified several materials that might be used in the manufacture of these biodegradable bullets such as bamboo fibre. It also specifies that it hopes to use bio-engineered seeds that have been developed by the Corps of Engineers’ Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory. These seeds do not germinate for several months after they’ve been planted. What sort of plant should be used isn’t specified but it should remove soil contaminants and consume the biodegradable components as well as be safe for animals to eat.
It may come as a surprise one of America's deadliest agencies even cares about the environment, but the DoD has long considered climate change to be a security threat. The United States may kill off the departments studying climate change, but the DoD will still be there preparing for the disastrous world we might live in once we’ve thoroughly screwed ourselves over.