The Green City

President Bush reportedly said that New Orleans should become a
‘shining example for the whole world.’
Timothy
Lange, writing for Grist
, agrees. But Lange, unlike
Bush, has a green renaissance in mind. Here are some of the steps
he’s laid out for creating ‘Eco New Orleans:’

Stop abusing the coast. Lange calls for full funding of
‘Coast 2050,’ a proposed wetland restoration project with a $14
billion price tag that the Bush administration has generally
opposed. Furthermore, oil and gas drilling is a drain on the Gulf
Coast’s resources that must stop if the region is to ever heal.
Lange notes that the removal of trillions of cubic feet of natural
gas and millions of barrels of oil may have precipitated the loss
of wetlands by lowering them into the sea.

Grow smart. Create walkable, diverse communities
plugged into sustainable energy with a variety of transportation
modes. New Orleans, like the US, can only achieve independence from
fossil fuels by turning to renewable sources like wind turbines and
solar power.

Mimic what’s working.

Green Communities
is a five-year, half-billion dollar program
that’s working to create more than 8,500 green homes for low-income
Americans. Lange promotes expanding Green Communities tenfold in
New Orleans.

Lange isn’t alone in his green brainstorming. As

Denis DuBois writes on EnergyPriorities.com
, ‘[T]here
is a unique opportunity, here: Make sure every new roof is a solar
roof.’ DuBois calls for rebuilders to keep the ecological footprint
of every structure in mind, and hopes that lawmakers will give the
region a shot in the arm — i.e., cash — to make this happen.
Until now, sustainable energy innovations have been stalled by
their lack of economic viability, but an eco-friendly New Orleans
would jump-start green markets and bring sustainable living within
reach of the general population.

The New Orleans Build
Better Project
, which Utne is helping to sponsor,
hopes to raise $1 million through grassroots and corporate
donations. Winners of a sustainable-design contest will put the
money toward green, low-income housing.

Some have estimated the cost of rebuilding New Orleans and the
region at $150 billion, Lange reports. Rebuilding green will be a
much heftier investment and an uphill ideological battle. ‘But,’ he
writes, ‘someday all cities must be ‘eco,’ or they will be dead.
New Orleans and its battered neighbors have a chance to be
pioneers.’

Go there >>
Big
Dreams for the Big Easy

Go there, too >>

Green Communities

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