Sustainable Gulf Coast Reconstruction?


We have expressed concern about the environmental disaster left in the wake of the Gulf Coast hurricanes. When it's come to talk about reconstruction, there hasn't been much good news: non-competitive rebuilding contracts, little talk of environmentally sound building or planning, and the initial underpayment of reconstruction workers.

Now there is cause for optimism. The U.S Green Building Council (USGBC), together with the Enterprise Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, the Trust for Public Land and others have announced a "full complement" of initiatives and ideas designed to assist in the rebuilding efforts of the Gulf Coast communities ravaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The Council's annual 2005 Greenbuild Conference & Expo, which will be held in Atlanta on November 9-11, 2005, is well-timed to address these pressing issues.Greenbuild attendees, many of whom represent chapters and other USGBC organization members, have expressed an interest in helping with rebuilding in the aftermath of the hurricane.

Funding has been arranged for 30 Gulf Coast community leaders to come and be a part of the proceedings.

"This is about collaboration, partnership, and leadership," said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, USGBC. "The rebuilding effort will be a Herculean task, and the USGBC is committed to providing our specific expertise to helping the citizens of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas re-set their roots and restore their communities as viable, vital, healthy and productive places, as quickly as possible and in a way that support them in the long term ."

The Greenbuild panel sessions will focus on embedding sustainable strategies in the rebuilding effort and will culminate in a documentation work session on Friday, November 11, 2005 that will compile all the ideas generated in order to quickly produce a workable document to guide the reconstruction efforts.

"At Greenbuild, we will devise a plan to offer real services to those that are located in the hurricane stricken regions," said Browning. "We don't want this to be an academic exercise." :: Greenbuild 2005