Perhaps you remember last May, when the small (and shrinking) town of Greensburg, KS was practically obliterated by a tornado, and then left helpless as the local National Guard fights abroad. Today, the effort to rebuild is in full swing, including comprehensive efforts to create a model for a green, sustainable city. So let’s take a closer look – is this as good as it sounds? Mostly.
Rewinding a few months to just after the tornado, the national media jumped on this story. It strikes a similar chord as Hurricane Katrina – innocent, ordinary Americans (encompassing a wealth of our historical identity) whose lives have been wrecked by a natural disaster and then disappointed by our national government’s ability to manage the situation. (This, of course, is on a much smaller scale than Katrina-New Orleans.)
But something extraordinarily unique about the Greensburg situation is that it’s an opportunity for a demonstration project to build an entire eco-community under the national spotlight, and the timing is impeccable.
Before everyone gets too excited, I have to revert to my trip home to Kansas for the holidays where I was reminded/cautioned of two things:
Back home, I remember hearing an NPR special interviewing a youth about whether or not he’ll want to come back to a green Greensburg after he goes to college. He seemed pretty excited, but the truth is, time will answer the first question.
Trying to get to the bottom of the second question, I’ve perused the local paper, the Kiowa County Signal, for signs of frustration with the process. So far, I haven’t found many (granted, the op-ed page is blank), but I also haven’t found entirely heartening news, either….
To be continued….
— Kari M.