If there's any silver lining in the dark weather clouds hanging over most of the country right now, it's in the opportunity they're creating to transform our cities and towns into the energy-saving, water-saving, safe and healthy communities they should be.
At 9:45 pm on May 4, 2007, an EF5 tornado whipped through rural Greensburg, essentially destroying the entire town. (Photo at right from the GreensburgGreentown.org website; see more amazing photos on the blog of professional photographer Galen Buller.)
Within days, the community decided to rebuild their homes and businesses sustainably. Yes, they wanted to get their lives back on track. But they also wanted to create a "model green town" for the future. They formed a non-profit organization called Greensburg GreenTown, with an ambitious and inspiring vision (taken directly from their website, GreensburgGreentown.org):
Greensburg GreenTown exists to:
- Make it easier for residents to ascribe to and adhere to green practices, and to make green living appealing to people.
- Engage as many residents as possible in the enthusiastic pursuit of making Greensburg a model green community.
- Establish incentives in order to maximize the participation of businesses and residents in rebuilding Greensburg as a model green community.
- Bring in resources and support from around the country to make the dreams of Greensburg as a model green community a reality.
- Make it easier for builders, building supply companies, and local businesses to do business as green as possible.
- Work to spur economic development with a green emphasis.
- Serve the residents in an unbiased consumer advocate capacity, striving to get them the best value for their money as they rebuild their homes and businesses.