In Washington, the debate over what to do about climate change is split largely down party lines. The Republican mayor of Greensburg, Kansas, rejects that idea: “We perceive certain things when we hear ‘Republican’ or ‘Democrat’—preconceived ideas of what Republicans or Democrats think on issues—when in fact, it should come down to what do we as citizens think on these issues,” he says. “It’s about us as a society surviving and the ability to endure, and that’s what true sustainability is.” (NPR)
Use our resources to see how Greensburg became a sustainable city.
- Greensburg, Kansas, Mayor Bob Dixon said he had to “get past the idea that being ‘green’ was a liberal principle.” Why do you think sustainability is associated with liberal or Democratic ideas? Reading the short section in the NPR article “The Fight in Congress” might help.
- Many conservatives and Republicans think that restrictions imposed by the federal government (such as limits on carbon emissions) will hurt the economy. Many think the U.S. needs more time to create an infrastructure based on renewable energy.
- The article quotes Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Kentucky. He criticizes carbon-emission limits because “we do not have enough renewable power to come close to meeting” the gap left by limiting the energy produced by coal-fired power plants.
- Watch the video “Kansas Town Rebuilds Green After Disaster,” and take a quick look at the “Renewable Energy” photo of Greensburg. What are some green-building ideas implemented after the tornado?
- sustainable windows (Although not explained in the video, this usually means two things: fiberglass framing, which are energy-efficient and low-maintenance, and insulated glass, which traps air between two panes. Insulated glass helps keep heat in during winter and out during summer.)
- sustainable flooring (bamboo)
- numerous LEED Platinum buildings: LEED stands for Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design, and status is assessed by the U.S. Green Building Council. It’s a difficult status to achieve, and is based on water efficiency, energy and atmosphere efficiency, materials efficiency, and indoor and outdoor environmental quality.
- use of wind turbines
- Video and Photo
- 5.4.7 Arts Center: wind turbines which produce energy for the building, solar panels on the roof, recycled construction materials
- Luckily, we don’t have to survive a devastating tornado to make some energy-efficient decisions.
- Do some minor homework—like getting your home’s square footage, types of fuel used, and your home’s utility bills—and measure your Home Energy Yardstick. This yardstick will assess the energy-efficiency of your home.
- Read through our activity “Choosing Energy-Efficient Appliances” to better understand how to assess and choose energy-efficient home appliances.
- How much do you know about home energy-efficiency? Take Nat Geo’s quizzes on
One thought on “Mayor Says Sustainability Is About Community, Not Politics”
Thanks for sharing. I agree to the fact that it should be what do we as citizens think on these issues rather than republicans and democrats giving their views. It’s purely about us as a society surviving and the ability to endure, and that’s what true sustainability is.