About the Holiday
Earth Hour was organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature as a way to engage people in the discussion on climate change. First enacted in Australia in 2007, the observance has grown to include cities, businesses, corporations, and individuals world wide. For one hour – from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. local time – participants will turn off all unnecessary lights in a show of solidarity and commitment to protecting our earth. Among the places going dark this year are the Empire State Building, the Space Needle, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Colosseum in Rome, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Sydney Opera House, and the Eiffel Tower.
Green City: How One Community Survived a Tornado and Rebuilt for a Sustainable Future
By Allan Drummond
On May 4, 2007 a devastating tornado hit Greensburg, Kansas, destroying the town in 9 minutes. When the residents of the town climbed from their shelters, they emerged into a world completely changed. There were no more homes, no school, no hospital, no grocery store or other shops. No banks, theater, churches, or water tower. Even the trees had been shredded. Only three buildings remained.
The citizens were urged to move away. Rebuilding would be impossible, some said, and what was the point anyway when the wind could destroy it all again? But others saw opportunity to construct a different kind of town. With the help of volunteers and donations from around the world, Greensburg began the Herculean task of designing and building a new town.
After clearing away 388,000 tons of debris and moving into a community of trailer homes, the people began to envision a unique, green town. Individuals designed sustainable houses of different shapes and materials that would work with the environment. Businesses, too, incorporated sustainability into their offices, retail centers, and hotels as did the hospital and the water tower. A wind farm large enough to provide energy for the entire town was built on the edge of this innovative city.
A new school was central to the town’s survival, and for three years the teachers held class in small trailers. Along with their regular studies, the kids became experts in environmental science. After several years Greenburg became a thriving city—a testament to conservation and sustainability that remains an example for global communities now and in the future.
Allan Drummond tells this fascinating story of a community that would not give up in an honest and sensitive way that highlights the courage and pride of a town amid devastating loss. Told from a child’s point of view, the story has extra impact for readers who are growing up amid an era of environmental awareness and activism. The sustainable construction of homes and other buildings is effectively explained and clearly depicted in Drummond’s colorful illustrations.
The images also demonstrate the process of negotiation and cooperation among townspeople that went into designing and building a new Greensburg. The final two-page spread of the town’s layout will interest kids as well as adults who have followed this story in the news.
Ages 5 – 9
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016 | ISBN 978-0374379995
Discover more about Allan Drummond, his illustration work and his books on his website!
Earth Hour Activity
Flashlight On, Flashlight Off Game
It’s fun to play games in the dark! During Earth Hour flip off your lamps and overhead lights and play this game that challenges your memory while you think about our planet! This game can be played with two or more players.
- 6 – 12 small objects (the number of objects can be adjusted depending on the ages of the players)
- A table or floor area large enough to lay out the objects
With the Flashlight On:
- Lay out the objects on a table or on the floor
- Give all the players time to look at the objects and try to memorize them
- Choose one player to remove one of the objects
With the Flashlight Off
- Turn off the flashlight
- While the room is dark, the designated player removes one object from the rest
- Turn the flashlight back on
With the Flashlight Back On
- The other players try to figure out which object is missing
- In addition to removing one object, the other objects can be moved around to different positions
- Remove more than one object at a time
- Add an object instead of removing one
Picture Book Review