The hidden link between fossil fuels, global warming, and perpetual war


“An outstanding film that breaks through the partisan rhetoric that has stymied long overdue efforts to address climate change.”
— Richard Lazarus | Professor, Harvard Law School

For decades, climate deniers and fossil-fuel industry lobbyists have done their best to cast climate scientists and environmental activists as naïve, unpatriotic, tree-hugging extremists and radicals who pose a threat to national security.

They’ve conveniently left out how U.S. military leaders have been aligning themselves with environmental experts and climate activists for years to push back against climate denialism and amplify the dire national security stakes of global warming.

For a fascinating look inside this unusual alliance, don’t miss award-winning filmmaker Roger Sorkin’s groundbreaking documentary THE BURDEN.

THE BURDEN is the first documentary of its kind to tell the story of how fossil-fuel driven climate change has emerged as our greatest long-term national security threat and how the U.S. military is uniquely positioned to bolster a clean energy economy that strengthens our national, economic, and environmental security. Featuring high-level active duty and retired military leaders, elected officials, environmental experts, and scholars, THE BURDEN is a powerful teaching and organizing tool. Ideal for courses that explore environmental issues, energy policy, and U.S. foreign policy, and for activists looking to build new coalitions to raise awareness about climate change and break America’s addiction to fossil fuels.

THE BURDEN is now available to purchase in a variety of formats. If you’d like to book a public screening of the film, please fill out this form.

If you’re interested in digging deeper into either the culture of U.S. militarism or the catastrophic impacts of mass consumption on climate, we urge you to check out two additional MEF titles. Joystick Warriors: Video Games, Violence & the Culture of Militarism, also directed by Sorkin, offers a powerful look at how hyper-militarized, first-person shooter games glorify war while concealing its devastating real-world human costs. And Advertising at the Edge of Apocalypse, directed and narrated by media scholar Sut Jhally, explores the central role the multibillion-dollar advertising industry has played in fueling planet-destroying levels of hyper-consumerism and the blind pursuit of economic growth at all costs.

Click here for a full list of MEF titles related to fossil fuel consumption and climate change.



“Provides an eye-opening, in-depth look at how our addiction to oil compromises our national security….Students of climate change and policy makers across the political spectrum will be astounded to learn the impact of oil dependence on our military and our national security. The film should be required viewing for every member of Congress who purports to support the military but opposes supporting alternatives to fossil fuels.”
— Maria Savasta-Kennedy | Environmental Law at UNC School of Law

“An outstanding and enormously important film that breaks through the partisan rhetoric that has stymied long overdue efforts to address the compelling issue of climate change. The Burden gives voice to our military leaders who make clear how unnecessary reliance on fossil fuels literally places at risk and costs the lives of our troops. A film every American who cares about supporting our troops and safeguarding national security should see.”
— Richard Lazarus | Charles Stebbins Fairchild Professor of Law at Harvard Law School

The Burden opens doors to meaningful discussions about the military’s reliance on fossil fuels and vividly illuminates how oil dependence is increasingly a national security concern.”
– Stephanie Kline, USMC veteran, Environmental Defense Fund military energy analyst

The Burden makes a compelling case about the importance of energy security. Dependence on fossil fuels is not just an environmental concern: it’s a matter of national security. That’s why the military invests in renewable and efficient energy, and why the nation should invest in a clean energy future.”
— Sharon Burke, Former Assistant Secretary of Defense



“Highly Recommended. Sorkin’s film breaks new ground. It is a cost-benefit analysis of US military dependency on fossil fuels, a consequence of the general US dependence on these fuels. [A] well-made, very watchable documentary … of interest to anyone interested in national security.”
— Educational Media Reviews Online




The Burden provides an important insight into the way fossil fuels hinder the military’s ability to protect the nation and achieve their missions. Use of fossil fuels can threaten the supply lines of our military, but also leads to increases in the number of threats they will need to defend against. The Burden is an important call to action.”
— Destenie Nock | Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University