Does it take a tornado to make a city environment friendly?
The answer is: it doesn’t hurt.

After basically being wiped out by a tornado a year ago, Greensburg, Kan., decided to be one with nature by rebuilding the city equipped with solar panels, wind turbines, tinted windows and other sustainable building products.

I am not sure if sustaining nature’s future will stop it from kicking your butt during the next tornado season, but I think Greenburg might be trying to reconcile.

According to the New York Times article, “environmentalists and civic leaders have seized on the disaster as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to re-engineer the town.”

What’s the saying? If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em?

On May 4, 2007 (a date of tragedy well-known to my fellow Kent Staters), a F-5 twister tore through the city, killing 11 of the 1,400 citizens of Greensburg.

Residents who are trying their luck, yet again, in the tornado belt are being encouraged by the city government to utilize energy-efficient designs for their new homes. And the government is actually practicing what it is preaching – for once – by resolving to “erect public buildings that meet the stringent LEED Platinum standards” for sustainability.

According to the article, around 40 homes have been built to environmental standards with increased insulation, compact-fluorescent lights, large windows to draw in sunlight and a recycled lumber and bricks.

The city is labeling its hop on the green bandwagon as “Tragedy to Triumph —
Greensburg Rising.” A memorial of the disaster is being held this Sunday with President Bush delivering the high school commencement address.

Wow, George. This almost makes up for the Hurricane Katrina disaster. One visit to a high school graduation ceremony and Americas will forgot how bad you f’ed up in 2005 in response to natural disasters.

But the current President is another story. As for Greensburg, I am proud of your efforts to rebuild the city into a sustainable, environmentally sound place for your children to grow up in. Even though Mother Nature kinda took a crap on Greensburg, the city government and the residents not only forgave her, but are giving back to the environment that wrecked its city and its homes. The PR lesson here is that Greensburg is not only rebuilding its city physically, but it is rebuilding its reputation and brand. These efforts are getting the city noticed and really putting it in the lime light nationally.