Four years after Katrina, the rebuilding of New Orleans is becoming an exercise in environmentally friendly reconstruction, Bryan Walsh writes in Time. Global Green USA, the American arm of a group founded by Mikhail Gorbachev, is leading the pack by building a sustainable village in the city's Lower Ninth Ward, and retrofitting schools with solar panels and wetland habitats to make them more energy efficient.
The federal government is also pitching in, paying to "green up" city libraries and install highly efficient, solar-powered LED streetlights. But progress is slow so far, and, notes Walsh, may be ultimately pointless in a below-sea-level city like New Orleans, which remains vulnerable to hurricanes and rising sea levels. On the other hand, all US cities need to be greened up in time—and New Orleans could prove to be the perfect test case.