Destroyed US town a model of eco-living as it rebuilds

posted by GeoT

GREENSBURG, Kansas (AFP) – With all eyes on US efforts to combat climate change at next week’s UN summit in Copenhagen, one Kansas town is going green in a big way — and setting an example for American communities.

On the evening of May 4, 2007, a category-five tornado swept through the rural midwestern town of Greensburg, killing nine people and obliterating 95 percent of the urban landscape, including the school, the hospital and more than 900 houses.

But this community of 1,400 is rebuilding stronger than ever, in a remarkable comeback billed by Greensburg GreenTown — a grassroots organization involving town residents, local officials and business owners — as a “model for sustainable building and green living.”

Sign welcomes visitors to Greensburg, December 1 in Greensburg, Kansas.

In the wake of disaster, local leaders vowed to rebuild their town as the first in the United States to have all municipal projects constructed to the highest environmental and efficiency design standards.

The efforts have attracted green experts and enthusiasts from around the world because of the Greensburg’s environmentally sustainable principles through renewable energy.

Whereas previously the town’s only pull was having the world’s largest hand-dug well, it now hopes to put itself on the map for eco-living.

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