Last week I began an attempt to scrutinize the local commitment to greening Greensburg, KS as it recovers from last year’s tornado season. Admittedly, my methodology isn’t scientific at all – I’ve simply kept a close eye on local papers and the nature of their coverage.
Unfortunately, there’s still nothing up on the local paper’s op-ed page. What is apparent on the local paper’s site, the Kiowa County Signal, is that this effort is at full speed. Greensburg is the first city to pass legislation requiring all city buildings to be built up to the Platinum LEED standard. And the city has developed and swiftly approved the first phase of its master plan, which includes some serious recycling. In the past few weeks, there have been celebratory ground-breaking events for privately-owned green buildings.
One of my hesitations against this backdrop of good lies in those groundbreakings, however. One has been for the Deere dealership (tractors). That’s rural life.
The fancy hybrid SUVs still only get about 26 mpg, and it just bothers me that these celebrations are as corporate as they are green – mostly because GM, of all the car companies, has been so two-faced and obstructive on the climate/energy issue. Any small town would be flattered to receive the compliments and presence of such a giant, but is Greensburg really better or greener because of it? Are they more educated or just used (even oil companies want on their better side)?
Regardless, I do think the community has its heart in this project. Just a few days ago, this small town packed the school gym to discuss the new green plan and their enthusiasm is quite visible.
(Leave it up to President Bush to disappoint them, though. In my perusal of articles, I did run across this: Sebelius, not Bush, acknowledges Hewitt. The emotion and sense of abandonment is pretty thick.)
Ultimately, the citizens of Greensburg are among the first to pioneer such an historical effort, and we owe them thanks (and to Kansas, for their latest coal debacle). The road less-traveled is always the most difficult to choose, but the lessons for our low-carbon future will be priceless and we will all be in deep gratitude.
– Kari M.