From the Publisher
"There was never a town with a truer name, though it didn't really discover it till tragedy created an opportunity that residents seized with head and heart!"
— Bill McKibben, author Oil and Honey:The Education of an Unlikely Activist
"Extreme and catastrophic climate events are the new normal. Fox is prescient in chronicling the challenges and opportunities of rebuilding a post-disaster Greensburg, Kansas. This is a story of what can be learned from both the successes and failures of rebuilding communities in Tornado Alley in the age of climate change." — Jennifer Cockrall-King, Author of Food and the City: Urban Agriculture and the New Food Revolution
"...a global example of how clean energy can power an entire community, how it can bring jobs and businesses to a place where piles of bricks and rubble once lay." - President Barack Obama
"From the rubble of a tornado, a Kansas town becomes a model for environmentally friendly living" - USA Today
"This town was almost blown off the map—now it’s back, and super green." - Daniel Penner, Grist.org
“…visionary”. – The New York Times
“…an example for sustainable communities everywhere.” National Geographic
“…a living example of what can be achieved when we take that leap into environmental sustainability.” - The Huffington Post
“…the greenest town in America.” — Los Angeles Times
Read an Excerpt
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.