Global Green USA Plans Post-Sandy Rebuild

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Global Green USA, the Santa Monica-based American affiliate of Green Cross International that has influenced more than $20 billion in green building projects, is planning its next endeavor: to help the areas devastated by Hurricane Sandy rebuild green.

The organization’s president and CEO Matt Petersen announced the new project on Dec. 3 at the 13th annual Sustainable Design Awards in New York. The plan includes three initiatives: Solar for Sandy, Search for Citizen Sandy, and Greening Schools and Neighborhoods.

The Solar for Sandy initiative asks solar manufacturers to donate solar PV panels and components to help install solar systems on schools, women’s shelters and centers in the devastated New York and New Jersey neighborhoods in order to provide light and other needs.

The Search for Citizen Sandy contest asks design-minded individuals in the devastated communities to submit their local green rebuilding ideas for the Citizen Entrepreneur Challenge: Citizen Sandy. The organization is looking for an idea that will help the area achieve a speedy recovery. Once the winner is chosen, Global Green will provide a seed grant of $1,000 and offer up its own expertise to use in the projects of the winner and finalists.

Lastly, the organization will use its own leadership and knowledge to look at the area’s infrastructure and help the schools and neighborhoods rebuild stronger than before. The organization has a more than 10-year history upgrading schools to be more energy efficient, helping more than 55,000 students and teachers save thousands of dollars, improving test scores in the process. Partnering with other organizations, Global Green USA announced a call for proposals, funded by EPA, from devastated cities and boroughs.

Seven years ago, the nonprofit had the same response to the communities of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and the organization hopes to have a similar impact in New York and New Jersey.

Global Green USA’s motivation stems from its all-encompassing I AM Challenge, which the organization announced in September 2011. It, along with a rather lengthy list of celebrities including Mark Ruffalo, Adrien Grenier and Serena Williams, believes that getting coastal cities to build green will help offset the chances of global warming and rising sea levels.

“Global Green USA remains committed to protecting coastal cities like New York from sea level rise by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. An estimated 150 million Americans live in or near coastal cities and we must also address the urgent need to fight climate change and better protect coastal cities at risk from sea level rise, which worsens storm surge in severe weather events,” the organization’s website states.