The New Eco Role Models
Saving the Earth one village, turtle, and bag of recyclables at a time. (And what you can do too.)
By Amanda Robb
O, The Oprah Magazine | From the April 2009 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
Mayor, Moss Point, Mississippi, the River City
How He Started: I ran for mayor because I wanted to help transform and improve Moss Point's economy. We used to be known as an industrial city, but the last big plant closed in 2001. These businesses damaged our environment—we're still learning how much. I vowed to create an economy that didn't have such a negative environmental impact. I think the area's greatest asset is its natural beauty. It is on the Escatawpa and Pascagoula rivers. The Pascagoula is one of the largest free-flowing rivers in the United States.
Darkest Moment: I took office in 2005, just weeks before Katrina hit. After the hurricane, city hall, the police station, and the fire station were flooded. We lost more than 100 homes.
What His Team Does: The terrible damage from the storm turned out to be an opportunity. Government funding enabled us to rebuild in new, green ways. For instance, instead of just repairing our city offices, we moved them away from the river, which protects them from flooding and opens up public access to the waterfront.
Biggest Success: Forging partnerships with groups like the Institute for Sustainable Communities was key. They are experts in not only environmental management but also leadership training.
Just One Thing You Can Do: Don't litter. Many of the products we dispose of don't degrade.