Tornado Spawns Model Kansas Green Town

The Greensburg GreenTown project aims to rebuild Greensburg as the first model Kansas green town in the United States following the devastating tornado of May 4, 2007.
By Daniel Wallach
October/November 2007
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Greensburg, Kansas after the tornado on May 4, 2007.
Photo by Daniel Wallach

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The people of Greensburg work to rebuild their home as a model Kansas green town.

A Model Kansas Green Town

On May 4 one of the most powerful tornadoes ever recorded devastated the small town of Greensburg, Kan. Ninety-five percent of the town’s buildings were damaged beyond repair and 10 people died. When you see the devastation firsthand, it is astonishing that the loss of life wasn’t astronomical.

The two-mile wide tornado totally destroyed the city’s infrastructure, but certainly not the town’s spirit. Since the storm, residents have responded with a vision of rebuilding the community as the nation’s first model green town. While rural Kansas has not traditionally been known for its efforts in the sustainability movement, the principles of green living are practiced naturally by most of these rural residents. They live close to the land, they recycle and they are generally knowledgeable about and respectful of Mother Nature.

We represent an organization called Greensburg GreenTown. We are a nonprofit working in concert with the city to move this green initiative forward. After some basic education for most residents, they are very enthusiastic about rebuilding the town green. We invite you, MOTHER’s readers, to assist residents in making this dream of a green beacon on the plains a reality.

One of our greatest needs is for you to share your stories and knowledge about how you’ve made your life and home green. We invite you to visit to post information about your experiences. And if you are willing to share your expertise on specific technologies and/or products, we will connect you with some of our residents who need advice and information. We also welcome words of encouragement from those of you who have survived similar natural disasters.

It’s exciting that out of this tragedy, residents have realized the opportunity to take the blank canvas that is Greensburg and re-create it as a model for the future. Wind power destroyed the town, and, poetically, wind power will be an important part of its recovery and shift to energy independence.

If you have great ideas for what else this community might consider as part of its green initiative, we invite you to share these on our Web site. Also, as a private nonprofit, we welcome donations of money and materials to further our mission.

Thank you, MOTHER EARTH NEWS, for your encouragement on this project and the inspiration you’ve been providing for decades.

Daniel Wallach
Executive Director, Greensburg GreenTown

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