When natural disasters strike, we may watch the news, listen to the tragic stories of loss, and draw inspiration from acts of heroism. A few of us may send donations to the Red Cross. But, fairly quickly, these stories fade from view. Such was the case for many of us with the 2007 tornado that struck the small Kansas town of Greensburg, two hours west of Wichita. The EF5 tornado, more than a mile-and-a-half wide at its base, mowed a swath through the town on the evening of May 4th, destroying 95 percent of Greensburg’s buildings and infrastructure.
For Greensburg residents, the tornado was a turning point, an opportunity to stand back and ask “what do we want to be?” The Greensburg tornado launched one of the most remarkable stories in the country of a community pulling itself from the ashes and committing not only to rebuild, but to rebuild as the greenest, most sustainable town in America.
Greensburg became America’s Green Town.
Now, six years later, Greensburg is ready to teach the rest of us how to do it. Green Town U.S.A. provides a roadmap that will help us use the experiences of Greensburg to transform our own communities. We don’t have to wait for a tragedy to begin this process of change. Sustainability translates into more jobs, improved quality of life, a healthier environment, and resilience, and this book will help you begin the process of achieving sustainability in your town.
Consider Green Town U.S.A. your manual for this transition. By creating a bridge to the future using sustainable practices as our measure, we can renew, restore, and rebuild this great country one Green Town at a time.
Alex Wilson is the Founder of BuildingGreen, Inc. in Brattleboro, Vermont and the nonprofit Resilient Design Institute.
Excerpted from Green Town USA by Thomas J. Fox; Introduction by Daniel Wallach; Foreword by Alex WilsonCopyright © 2013 by Hatherleigh Press Ltd. Excerpted by permission of Hatherleigh Press, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.