GreenTown USAby Daniel Wallach, foreword contributor of Green Town U.S.A.: The Handbook for America’s Sustainable Future (Hatherleigh Press, July 2013) and Executive Director and Founder of Greensburg GreenTown

You may have heard of Greensburg, Kansas, the little town only 1.5 miles wide that was 95% destroyed by a tornado in 2007.   What you may not know is that Greensburg chose to transform tragedy into opportunity by deciding to rebuild “green.” Since we made this decision, we have received quite a bit of exciting recognition. President Barack Obama mentioned it in his address to a joint session of Congress on February 24, 2009 and Leonardo DiCaprio, working with the Discovery Channel, produced a documentary. We were also featured on the Weather Channel during a segment entitled “When Weather Changed History.”

But the story of Greensburg, Kansas does not begin and end there. In fact, our decision to rebuild green is, in a way, the prelude to a new chapter for every town and city in our country, especially in light of the recent and ongoing disaster in the Gulf. Individuals across America can look to Greensburg, a.k.a. “GreenTown”, as an example of how we can change the course of history and change the way we live with the environment in mind, and how young people can be instrumental in this change.

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Making Music Videos by Lara M. Schwartz

One of the greatest rewards for us here at Random House is to hear that one of “our” books has had a profound influence in your classrooms. We recently received an e-mail from Jeff Kuhr, a film/media teacher at Lawrence High School in Lawrence, Kansas sharing the work his students have done over the past year. The Focus Film Festival, which began with 14 films five years ago and most recently boasted 92 student entries, combines the young talent of students from fifteen different high schools in the Northeastern Kansas region. The result was an awards ceremony attended by over 200 filmmakers, family members and community enthusiasts—a celebration of creativity, initiation, and raw talent. (more…)