While riding Amtrak’s Southwest Chief home from Kingman Arizona I talked to several interesting people. One of those people I found out later was a resident of Greensburg, Kansas. When we first spoke I don’t remember where he was from coming up. I didn’t find this out until he was speaking with someone else much later that day. I was seated in the observation deck after being ran off by a small group of jerks in the area below by the snack vending. If I had been in a better mood I would have loved to play 20 questions with this person. The past couple of years I have watched several different television programs detailing Greensburg’s recovery from a devastating tornado on May 4, 2007. Today is the third anniversary of that event.
Greensburg Kansas is an example of a community showing America how things should be done. Unfortunately very few cities in this country will follow their lead. Creating sustainable communities that use resources more efficiently is not only good for the environment – it is what we need to being doing to keep our nation secure. Germany and several other countries have shown that embracing new & old technologies in regards to “going green” can in fact be profitable.
What is frustrating is that many of the products used to rebuild Greensburg into a more self sufficient city were most likely not made in the United States. Although I think several shows did promote the fact of Made in America. But most of your wind turbines are made overseas. America has not made new technology a priority so we have fallen behind. We have let other nations take the lead in regards to manufacturing and developing these energy eco technologies.
America has not embraced sustainability. While watching many of the documentaries on Greensburg Kansas you were shown the varying opinions of citizens. Many of the negative comments are ones I hear every day when I talk to people about leading by example. In my area wind farms have been heavily fought against. Even though this is a technology that can produce clean energy without damaging the surrounding community or the planet. Solar even though proven effective in almost all parts of the United States is still looked at as useless. This country just can’t seem to grasp the need for change.
Rebuilding Greensburg with sustainability in mind has been a struggle from what I have seen on television. Some people still don’t feel this was the best use of financial resources. In the end I don’t even think using Greensburg as an example will get people to see the light. It is extremely frustrating that more citizens of the United States aren’t demanding their communities change and follow the lead of a small town in Kansas that decided trying to do it right would set them apart from others. Sadly the lesson they are trying to teach the rest of us will most likely not lead to a revolution of people demanding sustainable communities.
I missed a golden opportunity that day because I was tired and pissed off. There was an opportunity to get the real life story from someone who has experienced Greensburg’s struggle and the efforts to rebuild. As much as I’d like to say I remember all the details of the conversation the man had. I honestly couldn’t give you any details. If I remember correctly this was a family who were renting a home in Greensburg Kansas. I know he detailed where he was at when the tornado hit. But I don’t remember what was said. A missed opportunity for me to learn more about something I’ve been interested in. I could have had a first person account instead of some media produced documentary.
I do think the man was aware that I was every interested to hear his story. Of course I tried to play it off a bit – especially since I was in such a horrible mood at the time.
Of course Springfield Illinois had it’s own battle with a devastating tornado. Luckily the destruction caused was not as severe as in Greensburg. No one in our community was killed. But many people did lose their homes and had to rebuild. Several parts of major business districts were destroyed.
The article links below to my stories covering the March 12 2006 Springfield Illinois are older content. I have moved this site from several different host providers since that time. Some links or photo content may not be active or correct currently. I’ve tried to update older articles when time permits.