Greening Greensburg | Orion Magazine

One of the things that holds us back from working toward a sustainable world is that it is so much easier to use our current infrastructure than to rebuild, recreate, and reimagine. We’ve also, in America, I’m afraid, become quite unimaginative and uncreative. (The decades of television finally taking their toll?) But what happens if your Midwest town gets leveled by a tornado? Well, if you are the salt-of-the-earth folk of Greensburg, Kansas, you roll up your sleeves, spit, and rebuild a sustainable community that draws in visitors from all over the world. And you do it all without wearing tie dye t-shirts or otherwise converting to Hippiedom.

Despite its name (the original Green was a nineteenth-century stagecoach driver), Greensburg was no hotbed of eco-activism. It was, and is, a conservative farm town, the seat of rural Kiowa County, where Mitt Romney got 86 percent of the vote. But sustainable rebuilding represents, as the townspeople like to say, “solid midwestern values.” Planning for the future, using water wisely, respecting the land, reducing waste: everyone could get behind those goals, and did. Even people well beyond the city limits of Greensburg contributed money, time, resources, and ideas to help remake the town.

Published by

Jonathan Erdman

Writer. In the summers, I live and work in the incredible state of Alaska, in the bush community of McCarthy, as the Executive Director of the Wrangell Mountain Center. When not in McCarthy, you'll typically find me in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, writing and working with local activists. My primary writing project right now is a novel set in remote bush Alaska, of the magical realism genre wherein an earnest and independent young woman finds a mysterious radio belonging to her grandmother, a device that has paranormal bandwidth and a disturbing ability to mess with one's mental stability.

Consider this post an invitation, an invitation to comment and collaborate ~ In Solidarity, JE

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.