Eleonore de Lusignan
After the tragic tornado storm that swept through Greensburg, Kansas on May 5th, 2007, the town is left to rebuild itself from scratch. So why not doing it right and making it the most sustainable in America? With the support of FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) Greensburg has established a Long-Term Community Recovery Plan that as stated sustainability as there number one priority. The decision made along several town meetings, energy use was put on top of the list and the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory has established a field office in the town.
There’s a constant tension between rebuilding as fast as possible and making the right decisions. But because Greensburg was already on a slow, steady decline prior to the tornado,” explained Hardy, “residents know that if they were to simply jump in and rebuild exactly as before, there’s no reason that trend would change. They recognize that and want to do something different.”
Greensburg-based companies are using the disaster as an opportunity to advance their businesses by embracing environmental responsibility.
TH: So what led to the desire of the townspeople to rebuild green?
BD: I think several things have contributed to it. Number one is that we’ve all been called to be good stewards of what the lord has blessed us with, and that’s just naturally going green because we’ve all become aware that the fossil fuel resources are running out. So we’ve lessened our use of fossil fuels and cut utility bills; sometimes without spending a tremendous amount of money by 30, 40, even 50 percent.
In rural America we are the original recyclers and our forefathers and pioneers knew the advantages of passive solar heat with their animals and homes, and geothermal energy as well, using it through dugouts and cellars with root crops. They were aware of all that technology generations ago. So that’s where we go back to as our roots; take care of the land because it takes care of you.
And being close to nature has also really spurred us on now that we’ve had the opportunity to rebuild from scratch. " Treehugger